Don’t panic says leader after 39 Fenland councillors threatened with private criminal prosecution

Richard (Leonard) Fulcher.

Richard (Leonard) Fulcher. - Credit: Archant

All 39 members of Fenland Council were contacted urgently by the leader Alan Melton today after they received notification of a private criminal prosecution being taken out against each of them.

The 12 page document detailed the case being put together by former Wisbech town councillor Richard Fulcher and his wife Karen.

It the latest round in a series of legal moves by the Fulchers who claim Fenland Council acted illegally in burning down a building at Foul Anchor near Wisbech which housed their pigs.

The council had alleged, in 2006, that the structure was in fact a house under construction and enforcement threats were followed by the council razing it to the ground. Mr Fulcher has always insisted the council acted illegally.

Since then he has launched a £275,000 legal claim against the council which he says has risen to around £500,000 with associated costs, compensation and interest. He won judgement by default of the claim and the council has responded with action to attempt to have the judgement set aside and to continue with an injunction to prevent Mr Fulcher taking bankruptcy proceedings against the council to extract payment.

Today Mr Melton emailed councillors to urge them “not to take any action, including responding or talking to third parties”.

He told them: “You are also advised to deliver the paperwork to Fenland Hall as soon as possible, marked for the attention of Paul Medd, chief executive”.

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A statement issued by Fenland Council this afternoon said the matter “is in the hands of our insurers”.

A council spokesman said: “We are still engaged in legal proceedings with Mr Fulcher, so it would be inappropriate to make any comment at this point.”

Mr Fulcher said: “I am resolute (and so is Karen) that this will never go away until we are paid out in full.”

He said the “bill owed to us by Fenland District Council is increasing at a rate of £141 per day”.

Last week Mr Melton admitted both he and his colleagues had been “inundated with emails and correspondence” from Mr Fulcher and his advisers.

“I have been in constant dialogue with our legal officers; we are dealing with a serious litigant.

He said: “Members are urged not to comment or to reply to any correspondence, we are dealing with it through the legal process, and members are advised that there is no possibility of personal liability.”

Mr Melton has advised any councillors concerned about their position to contact the council’s corporate director Alan Pain for advice.

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