Case study 13: Cafe owner banned from looking at rival cafe

(Statement by CPN recipient) ‘In 2014 I opened a post office, community shop and cafe. Within 6 months a coffee shop was allowed to open next door, run by a local parish councillor, who set about trying to destroy my business and what has become known as the ‘coffee wars’ ensued. I reported people repeatedly for abuse and stealing my signage, but the council and police ignored and denied knowing about my reports.

Broadland District Council issued a warning letter and within 7 weeks I had a CPN warning for anti social behaviour after complaints were made by the friends and family of the councillor. It was a set up. The council misused the powers of the CPN. Both police and council worked together to issue a CPN without evidence that they could substantiate in court.

I remained unaware of the reports of my alleged wrongdoings as no authority brought these alleged crimes to my attention. This is because the allegations were made covertly and were either spurious or false and had no basis in fact. I was never provided with the opportunity to understand the nature and substance of the ASB/crime reports against me prior to the Community Protection Notice warning letter.

I had never even heard of – let alone met – two of the alleged victims named on the CPW letter. Nevertheless, the evidence of these people was used to support the issuing of the CPW.

Hundreds of documents in my possession show that not only were the statements false, but also that the statements were doctored and rewritten. Myself and other witnesses were deemed unreliable by the police and were ignored, with me continually painted as the aggressor. Documents I retrieved under Subject Access Requests and Freedom of Information Requests, some of which are heavily redacted, show collusion between both parties and the police, allowing the CPN to be issued.

The council dropped the CPN on the advice of the council solicitors and the head councillor at Broadland District Council. I believe they did this to stop the wrongdoings by Broadland councillors from being discussed in full court. The ramifications of not having the full evidence heard in court has left a cloud over my character and the CPN remains on my police record. Ultimately, I think the local council dropped the case to prevent the truth coming out in court.

This illegal action has cost me two businesses and tens of thousands of pounds in lost revenue. I have suffered ill health, and the same individuals have harassed and targeted me online and verbally ever since, resulting in a physical assault and conviction by one of the individuals involved.’