Balls and Legality?

This forum is for Garden Law problems that don't fit into the other categories. Please treat it with respect.

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ANGRY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:21 pm
Location: West Midlands

Post by ANGRY » Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:24 am

Hi conveyencer. :D

ok what is the law on balls... :roll:

return or return at your own will...

Regards ANGRY :wink:

Conveyancer
Posts: 5610
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:19 pm
Location: Andalucía

Post by Conveyancer » Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:47 am

ANGRY wrote:Hi conveyencer. :D

ok what is the law on balls... :roll:

return or return at your own will...

Regards ANGRY :wink:
I doubt there has ever been a case on the question for the simple reason that no ball is worth going to court over. I was only just yesterday thinking about this question. There was a rule that said that if you owned something (and here I mean thing, not land) that was in the possession of someone else you could not sue for its return, only its value. I do not know if this still applies, but suspect it does. It would seem therefore that a neighbour can keep the ball, but you can sue for its value. The problem is of course that no one is going to resort to the law and you more or less have to put up with neighbours keeping balls. Equally, although you should not let children read this, is your neighbour going to sue for trespass if someone nips round and collects it?

ANGRY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:21 pm
Location: West Midlands

Post by ANGRY » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:48 am

Hi conveyancer

The reason I ask is that it is not unusual for our NFH to send over 5 balls a day into our garden which we have always returned….even though they have caused quite a bit of damage over the time ….plus just by being in the garden when these come flying over…we are aware that this is deliberate …
Because their names and addresses are written on them now…
But earlier this year a ball came over …I was in the kitchen with the windows open…and the NFH kids shouted at me …from their garden F…… throw it back now…I will not be told what to do …by an 10 year old …
Then he came round and threatened us …we told him that when we go into the garden we will through it back…but not until then…then stood on our drive saying come on…you know fight mode…
We were shaken by this…so rang the police about his threats …they said they didn’t feel they needed to respond…but would send someone later…
After a while we rang them back informing them that we had in the past rang…and they had attended concerning this neighbour and that we had been told …that they would always attend if we felt threatened…
They replied that someone was already on their way …as they had had a call from them about the ball…well amazed is not the word…
They came we told them about the threats …they asked if we had any proof…we told them we hadn’t…they went to see NFH…they came back and said…
That he denied threatening us….surprise surprise :roll: … but admitted coming round
Moreover, informed us that in future we were to return the balls immediately…a win for NFH…so we had CCTV installed…what I don’t understand is the polices reluctance to attend when we are threatened …yet their response to a ball that has been in our garden for about an hour…

Regards ANGRY :wink:

nigelrb
Posts: 1608
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Worcs.

Post by nigelrb » Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:58 pm

Hi ANGRY

I sit here wondering if there is any harn in returning the balls - in two halves. Now, I would not tend to compromise your well known ethics of 'being straight' but you would not be criminally damaging the balls, just environmentally adjusting them so they don't bounce over your fence.

Remember, always think outside the square!
Cheers, Nigel
Life is never what it seems; there is always two sides to every story.

Pennyfarthing
Posts: 402
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:34 pm

Post by Pennyfarthing » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:12 pm

I enjoy reading your posts too conveyancer. 8)

Conveyancer
Posts: 5610
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:19 pm
Location: Andalucía

Post by Conveyancer » Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:47 pm

Hello Angry!

I did type a response earlier, but lost it when I Googled for something and clicked on the cross in the top right hand corner once too often. :oops: I could not face an immediate retype! :evil:

I shall refrain from commenting on the police response.

Whilst it may have been appropriate for the police officer to suggest that you return the ball immediately in order to defuse the situation, I do not think he could have insisted on it - apart from anything else he had no proof it was their ball. It may have their name and address on it, but they could have sold it to you or given it to you; indeed it could have been your ball all the time and you had decided to write on it in a capricious moment. If your neighbour had contacted the police to complain that you had not returned the lawnmower you had borrowed they would have told him it was none of their business. What goes for lawnmowers must go for balls.

Also by insisting the ball was returned immediately the police officer clearly had not thought the matter through. Consider the following:

The ball comes over the fence ten times in ten minutes. Are you expected to come out of the house and give the ball back every time?

You are watching your favourite TV programme, or having a bath, or eating your dinner, or entertaining the Chief Constable. Are you expected to stop what you are doing and give the ball back?

It is half past three in the morning. Are you expected to get out of bed to throw the ball back?

You are at work, or on holiday in the Shetlands or on a tour of the South Seas. Are you expected to come home and give the ball back?

The ball lodges in a gutter. Are you expected to get out a ladder and retrieve the ball?

If you had refused to hand the ball back what crime would you have committed? It could not be theft as you did not take the ball, it arrived in your garden without you wanting it to and you had no intention of depriving them of it permanently.

ANGRY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:21 pm
Location: West Midlands

Post by ANGRY » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:19 pm

:D Thank you for that conveyancer

That has made it very clear…

The problem is that when you are like many people on here …wanting to keep the law and do things the correct way…you can be made to look a push over …
Nevertheless, all you are doing is trying not to look the aggressor …while many things are appealing to do to the NFH…I would just like to win in court …
Then I can hold my head up high …when I have made them look like the ass….s they are…
However, with crap solicitors and barristers :roll: …it’s like trying to chase a pack of cats through treacle… :twisted:

Regards ANGRY :wink:

mark1
Posts: 352
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 1:16 pm

Post by mark1 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:07 am

Think before you type and post Conveyancer. Your comparison between the lawnmower and the ball is incorrect.

Maverick.uk
Posts: 1567
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:36 pm
Location: Suffolk, UK

Post by Maverick.uk » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:25 pm

arthur wrote:Think before you type and post Conveyancer. Your comparison between the lawnmower and the ball is incorrect.
Y is that Arthur? Please explain your take on the query.

Regards

Mav

mark1
Posts: 352
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 1:16 pm

Post by mark1 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:13 pm

The ball presumably comes into your possession accidently which means that it is theft not to return it within a reasonable amount of time.
The lawn mower is on loan which means that you freely gave it to your neighbour. Unless you actually stipulated a time limit on when you wanted it returned it is not theft.

twig
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:35 am

Post by twig » Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:46 pm

It's not theft, it's a civil matter as conveyancer has already said. The owner of the ball could (in theory) sue the person keeping the ball for either the goods or it's value.

Because it is a civil matter it is none of the police's business but remember they do also have a role to play in crime prevention. If they think that your failure to return the ball may result in your neighbour coming round and nutting you they may advise you to throw them back. They cannot make you.

nigelrb
Posts: 1608
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Worcs.

Post by nigelrb » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:59 pm

Conveyancer wrote:Hello Angry!

If you had refused to hand the ball back what crime would you have committed? It could not be theft as you did not take the ball, it arrived in your garden without you wanting it to and you had no intention of depriving them of it permanently.
ANGRY had posession of the ball and was asked to return it to its owner. By refusing to hand the ball back ANGRY had already formed an intent to deprive them of it!
Life is never what it seems; there is always two sides to every story.

Conveyancer
Posts: 5610
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:19 pm
Location: Andalucía

Post by Conveyancer » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:37 pm

I think it's worth having a look at S.1 of the Theft Act 1968 (I am not sure if this act is still in force as I am not a criminal lawyer - no jokes please about all lawyers being criminal - but I think the definition is useful for this discussion.)

A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it

(For the record the next few sections complicate things a bit, but they are not really relevant to the point here.)

So you have to take the goods and at the same time intend to permanently deprive the owner of them.

I do not think that refusing to return a ball immediately it has come into your possession can be theft. Since there was no intention to keep the ball there is no need to consider whether keeping the ball would be theft, but I will anyway. I do not think it is and I still consider that the return of the ball is a civil matter. The police have no right to require one person to hand goods to another as the question of ownership is not for them to decide. I think the police officer would have given the matter a little more thought of the item in question was of more value, say a TV set.

Referring to the loan of a lawnmower, even if you specify a period for the loan and it is exceeded, it is still a civil matter.

Countryman
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:02 pm

Post by Countryman » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:36 pm

Section 3 (1) of the Theft Act 1968 describes 'appropriation' as.....

'Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner amounts to an appropriation, and this includes, where he has come by the property (innocently or not) without stealing it, any later assumption of a right to it by keeping or dealing with it as an owner'

Conveyancer has quoted the basic element of the Theft Act in his previous post so I won't repeat it.

'Property' is described as including money and all other property , real or personal, including things in action and other intangible property'

So property could be a penny chew from a sweet shop (if its stolen it is still theft even if it has a value of one penny). It could be a twenty pound note found innocently whilst your walking down the high street if you treat it as your own and do not try to find the rightful owner (i.e. report the find to the police for example). It could also be a football kicked into your garden by neighbours if you then treat it as your own and intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of it.

In Angry's case the football is definitely property (some are very expensive!) but even if it has a value of one penny it is still property and the police can prosecute if theft has occurred (can't agree with you that it is a civil case Conveyancer). However I fully agree with Conveyancer that in Angrys case there is no intention to assume the rights of the owner and PERMANENTLY deprive the rightful owner of the footballs hence it is NOT theft.

The police officer can suggest that the footballs are sent back immediately but as previously stated by Conveyancer that is not always practical and there is no legal basis to say you HAVE to. If me I would insist that a parent of the children comes to my home to collect a ball on each and every occasion (I would be concerned that if the children collected the ball that they might drop it on the highway and run after the ball!). By doing so I would not be permanently depriving the owner of the ball, I would be inconveniencing the parents (but thats not part of the Theft Act offence) - it might then focus their minds on the unreasonable inconvenience being caused to me ! I would not be in a hurry to return the balls - if for example a parent called at 'a meal time' etc I would ask them to call back later as it was not 'convenient ' to get the ball at 'this time'. There would be no offence under the Theft Act in my opinion - I am perfectly willing to give the ball back - but when it is convenient to me. Hope this opinion assists.

Countryman

ANGRY
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:21 pm
Location: West Midlands

Post by ANGRY » Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:56 pm

:D
Yes thank you all...

thats very clear now...

Regards always ANGRY :wink:

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