A court bailiff arrived at the headquarters of North Northamptonshire Council yesterday (Tuesday, March 29) over an unpaid debt.
The official turned-up at the Corby Cube first thing, just as a protest was beginning outside over cuts to the budgets of nursery schools in North Northamptonshire.
Brandishing a clipboard and wearing a stab vest, the large-framed enforcement officer was said to have begun cataloguing council assets and photographing them.
But he eventually left empty-handed after a discussion with the council’s legal team.
Senior officers had to briefly turn their attentions from the important business of deciding on the future funding of maintained nurseries to deal with the matter.
The amount of the debt has not been disclosed but the authority told this newspaper that it related to a general maintenance debt and that they had already applied for the ruling to be set aside.
An NNC spokeswoman said last night: “A bailiff did attend the Cube this morning in relation to an ongoing legal matter and this was dealt with by the council’s legal team.
“The council has made an application to set aside the claim against it and therefore this is still an ongoing legal matter which we will not comment on further at this time.”
Any person or organisation who is sued over an unpaid debt, and loses their claim, has a county court judgement lodged against them. Bailiffs can then be instructed to recover items to cover the debt.
If the claim is disputed, but for some reason the hearing has already gone ahead, the debtor can apply to have the judgement set aside and it returns to the claim stage.
It is not known if this is a historic debt owed by one of the five legacy councils or has been racked-up by NNC, which is just a year old.
The council is no stranger to legal issues, with a £4m high court claim recently settled after publican Geoff Monks was wronged by East Northamptonshire Council, and an employment tribunal currently going through the courts.