Norfolk bank blowtorch man says court hearing was fair

Derek Tubby at Norwich Crown Court.

Derek Tubby at Norwich Crown Court. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A small businessman who felt aggrieved at what he saw as unfair treatment by Barclays Bank, walked into the Acle branch with a blow torch and petrol can and threatened staff as he felt his complaints had not been properly listened to, a court heard.

Derek Tubby, 60, had been involved in a long-running dispute with Barclays Bank in Acle over how it had handled his affairs, leaving him with debts of nearly £100,000 over a failed business venture to start a children's nursery in Norwich.

The final straw was when his debit card was blocked so he could not use it to pay his VAT and he then had fines imposed, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Tubby, of Fleggburgh Road, Rollesby, admitted affray on September 23 this year and was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months.

Tubby was also ordered to do 150 hours' unpaid work.

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Speaking after the case, he said: 'A fair hearing in court witnessed how Barclays Bank had sadly controlled my family life. I felt that the public deserved the right to know how I have been treated.

'This forced me to express my opinions in an out-of-character manner in order to be heard. I would finally like to draw a line under the long lasting grievances.'

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Richard White, prosecuting, said Tubby had gone to the bank in Acle, carrying a blowtorch and petrol can, and had shouted at staff in a 'raised and aggressive voice'.

'He was saying that what the bank had done to him was criminal and said the bank had done it again and blocked his debit card.'

Mr White said the bank manager was present along with five staff and two customers and said the manager tried to calm him down but Tubby was still very agitated.

The manager said he would look into his complaints and asked if customers could be allowed to leave, but he said Tubby told him that he wanted them to stay to hear what he had to say.

Mr White said staff and customers managed to leave the branch through a back exit and police arrived finding Tubby still armed with the blow torch and petrol can, so he was Tasered to the ground and hit with a baton.

Mr White said one of the bank staff said she felt sick at the shock of what happened but a customer, who had been in the bank at the time, said he did not think Tubby would carry out any threat.

When arrested Tubby said he had been 'frustrated' by his treatment by the bank.

The court heard that he had received a caution in 2009 for going into the Barclays Bank branch, in Lowestoft, with a crow bar and causing alarm, which was part of his ongoing dispute with the bank.

The court heard that he no longer banks with Barclays and a restraining order, banning him from any Barclays Bank branch, was made by the judge.

Judge Mark Lucraft said it was a sad case and said there had been a long-running dispute with the bank. He accepted no one was hurt in the incident but said that whatever his grievance was with the bank, he had not dealt with it in the right way.

'It is not, and cannot be right, to deal with anything in this way, whatever the grievance was.'

Andrew Oliver, for Tubby, said he was not a 'deluded' person. 'He is a hard working man, who has snapped.'

Mr Oliver said that Tubby had over-reacted but had a difficult past four years.

He tried to set up a nursery in Exchange Street for his daughter in 2009 but when there was a problem over planning and he tried to get re-finance with the Alliance and Leicester bank, he found Barclays had taken power of attorney on his house and had his deeds to the property.

When he tried to get the deeds back there was a delay in finding them.

'He had to pay £3,500 every three months for the rent of a building which was useless.'

He said the situation got so bad that the business had to be closed which left him with a significant amount of debts of nearly £100,000.

Mr Oliver said Tubby continued to bank with Barclays for his business, but then there was a problem over using his debit card to make his VAT payments and he incurred fines.

'It was the straw which broke the camel's back.'

He said he went to the bank and had wanted them to take him seriously.

'Not only did he not intend to cause any physical harm to anyone, he did not cause any physical harm to anyone.'

He said that Tubby was extremely remorseful and just wanted to do his best for his family.

'He does not have a bank account now. He does not want to have anything to do with Barclays in the future.'

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