Courts sofa sit in man arrested

FURIOUS Andrew Read spent three hours in a police cell when he conducted a one-man in store sit-in against troubled furniture chain Courts.Mr Read of Balmoral Close, was so angry about potentially losing the £800 he paid Courts four weeks ago for two sofas, he took it into his own hands to take them from the store.

FURIOUS Andrew Read spent three hours in a police cell when he conducted a one-man in store sit-in against troubled furniture chain Courts.

Mr Read of Balmoral Close, was so angry about potentially losing the £800 he paid Courts four weeks ago for two sofas, he took it into his own hands to take them from the store.

He was released without being charged or cautioned after being held by police for three hours when they found he had committed no offence in entering the store.

Courts' 88 outlets throughout England and Wales remain temporarily closed after the company was placed under administration on Tuesday over debts totalling £280million.

Administrators KPMG have said they are searching for a buyer and have been forced to keep stores shut following threats of violence against staff and stores from disgruntled customers.

Painting contractor Mr Read, 42, was arrested shortly after 8am on Friday for a possible breach of the peace after convincing a Courts employee to open the door to the Ranelagh Road store.

Most Read

He then managed to enter through the door, with the aim of carrying out two sofas similar to those he paid for.

He said: "It's money I've saved up for well over a year and it was a Christmas present for my girlfriend.

"I'm very angry. I went down there at about 6.30am with the intention of as soon as someone opened the door to go inside.

"It was my not intention to break the law but to take what was rightfully mine."

After gaining entry, Mr Read pushed the two-seater and three-seater sofas toward the door and then sat on them until police arrived.

He said: "The main importance of this was to do this in a way that I was not committing a crime.

"I took the receipt with me and I said to the police all 'I want to do is get these sofas out of the store and into the van'."

After refusing to leave the store, Mr Read was arrested and handcuffed but his brush with the law only served to add to his frustration with the treatment of customers who are owed either money or furniture.

He said: "When you pay in good faith you don't expect to get no goods or no money back.

"The law is supposed to protect the innocent and it does the reverse.

"There is a fundamental flaw in legislation in that companies can do this to innocent people.

"This is an appalling situation."

On Friday administrators KPMG announced the sale of Courts Contracts, a non-retailing division of Courts Ltd, safeguarding 90 jobs but the search for a buyer for Courts Plc and Courts (UK) Limited continues.

N Are you a Courts customer who faces losing money or furniture you have paid for? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter