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Emneth man rammed bailiff's car fearing he was a 'hitman'

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A bailiff’s car was written off when it was rammed by a West Norfolk man who feared the owner was a “hitman”.

Only days beforehand, James Tribe had been threatened by someone reported to police for allegedly burgling his son’s home, Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

So when the bailiff, who was “dressed as a commando”, pulled on to Tribe’s driveway in Church Road, Emneth, behind him, Tribe “panicked” and feared it was linked to that incident.

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court (53800793)
King's Lynn Magistrates' Court (53800793)

Prosecutor Morgan-Rose McGinn said the bailiff had activated his body-worn camera after arriving and was still in his car when he said his usual greeting of “hey buddy”.

She added: “Mr Tribe, who was standing next to a black Bentley, was immediately aggressive and said ‘leave the driveway now or I’m going to reverse it into you’.

“Before being able to do so, Mr Tribe reverse-rammed [the bailiff's] car, causing significant damage to the front end.”

Miss McGinn said the bailiff was in fear of his life and thought there were other males in the back of the Bentley.

A victim personal statement read to the court said the incident had had a significant impact on the bailiff's personal and work life

He said he used to be a lot more relaxed and when he sees a similar 4x4 vehicle it triggers flashbacks of the ramming incident.

The Leon, worth £9,994, was written off with the victim having to pay a £425 insurance excess.

Tribe admitted causing criminal damage on May 20.

Tim Bartlam, mitigating, said his client had been advised by police to stay away from his home after someone known to officers as “dangerous” had driven over his foot on his property and made threats following the burglary report.

Mr Bartlam added: “Mr Tribe said to me ‘the last person I thought was on my driveway was a bailiff. And then this car rolls up behind me and the driver was dressed like a hitman.’

“The unfortunate [bailiff] arrived in his own car dressed as a commando.

“My client said in interview ‘I panicked and took the action I did’.

“The incident lasted a matter of ten or 20 seconds.”

Tribe was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,925 plus a £128 victim surcharge.

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