Is it a police matter?

I’m having a dispute with…
I’m having a dispute with a neighbour about…
I’m having a dispute with an ex-partner or spouse about…
I’m having a dispute with a shop or vendor about…
I’m having a dispute with a debtor or bailiff about…

I’m having a dispute with a trespasser on my property

Trespass alone on open ground is not a criminal offence so the police have no power to arrest people for it, unless the trespasser has criminal intent. Initially, the landowner should ask the occupier to leave the land and if he/she does then all is well. The problems start however, if he/she refuses to leave the land.

The owner of the land could commit several criminal offences if he forcibly removes the trespasser and his/her property from the land. The best and safest course of action is to obtain a court order, which if breached may then turn into a criminal matter.

If the police do attend such an incident such as this, they are merely there as observers for any possible criminal offences committed by either party. The police cannot assist in the removal of the trespasser or their property from the land in question.

The police do have some powers against two or more trespassers if damage has been caused or there is more than six vehicles on the land.

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

Unless a crime has been committed, or is in progress, we don’t have the authority to intervene in a boundary dispute.

If you can’t find an agreeable solution with your neighbour, we suggest seeking the advice of a solicitor to resolve this. You could also contact your bank, building society, or whoever holds your deeds, to confirm the boundaries.

The following resources may also be of use:

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

The Land Registry

Citizens Advice

This information is provided courtesy of  Ask The Police

If a bonfire appears dangerously out of control and you’re worried about the safety of people or property, call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.

Lighting a bonfire is not illegal, but the smoke is something the environmental health department of your local council might be able to take action on, if it is deemed a nuisance. You need to record the details of who is lighting the fires, what time, what the effects were and your details.

It is an offence for a person to light a fire on any land not forming part of a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway. It is an offence for a person to light a fire on any land not forming part of a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway.

The council can stop the person from committing a statutory nuisance and failure to comply can lead to prosecution. However, if the fires are only infrequent, it is unlikely the council will take action.

The following resources may also be of use:

Citizens Advice

Find your local council

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police

Getting the police involved is usually not the best thing to do, as it could make the matter worse, causing more long term problems for both parties.

The best thing to do, where possible, is to speak to your neighbour about the problem and try and resolve it between yourselves. If you have tried or feel that, for whatever reason, it is not an option then you can get advice from:

If you keep the ball and refuse to give it back then you may eventually end up facing prosecution yourself.

Many people install CCTV at their home as a security measure and cameras used for the purposes of this (ie covering the property) are not subject to the Data Protection Act.

However, if the footage covers areas beyond this, such as neighbouring streets or other properties, problems may arise. There could be issues regarding privacy and harassment if you are being recorded in your home.

In the first instance, speak to your neighbour to see if it’s possible to reposition the camera so that it does not point at your property. If this is not successful, and you want to take further action, we recommend seeking legal advice from a solicitor.

Resources belonging to the Information Commissioner’s Office may also be of use or Citizens Advice or Ask The Police.

Whether a person is the owner of a vehicle is a question for a court to decide. Facts to consider are:

  • The way the person treats or uses the vehicle
  • Whether they have insurance for it
  • Whether they have spent money on its purchase and upkeep

A registration document (V5) is not proof of ownership. The DVLA make a point of saying that the person named on the V5 is not necessarily the owner. They are considered responsible for the vehicle by the police and DVLA, but the owner is the person who paid for it, or to whom the car was given as a gift.

Cars used by married couples are usually considered joint-owned.


It is an offence to take and keep property which you know belongs to someone else.

It is not considered dishonest if a person has a genuine belief that:

  • They have a legal right to the property
  • The other person would consent if they knew of the taking and the circumstances of it
  • The owner could not be traced by taking what a court would consider reasonable steps

The vast majority of cases are not theft. They are civil disputes and for this reason we would initially recommend speaking to a solicitor or Citizens Advice. If they recommend reporting the matter to us please call our non-emergency number, 101.

Getting a car returned to you

If you are the legal owner of the vehicle and your ex-partner or spouse has it, you can either require its return and seek a court order to this effect, or sue them for its cost. You will need to seek legal advice from a solicitor to do this.

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

The police may be able to assist in certain circumstances. They will not however get involved in civil property disputes and you should seek advice from a lawyer or Citizens Advice Bureau with regards to this.

If the other party agrees to your proposed action e.g. the collection of belongings, but you are concerned for your safety, a police officer may accompany you to prevent a breach of the peace. Where possible the police will check that the other party agrees to the proposed action and may explore any alternatives e.g. meeting at a neutral location to exchange belongings.  You can contact Norfolk Police via 101.

If the other party does not agree to the proposed action, then it would be advisable not to attend due to the risk of provoking a breach of the peace, and to contact a solicitor or Citizens Advice Bureau instead regarding alternative options.

Ideally you will have your own form of transport to and from the address.

If you suspect you or your child are in immediate danger, call 999 now.

As long as there is no immediate danger, this is a matter of family law and we do not have the authority to intervene. We recommend seeking the advice of your solicitor. It is likely that your case will go back before the court, who will decide what course of action to take.

The Department for Work and pensions website

Sorting Out Separation

Citizens Advice 

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

If a vendor tells you that a perfume is Chanel, sells it to you as the genuine article, charges you a reasonable price, and you later find out that it is not Chanel, you should contact your local Trading Standards office.

They will take up the complaint on your behalf. Although the vendor could be said to have obtained your money by fraud, Trading Standards are the best people to deal with these matters.

This principle applies to most consumer purchases, so these factors can be considered when purchasing many products. As a rule we would recommend buying such products from reputable stores to avoid potentially harmful counterfeit products.

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

It’s always a good idea to agree a price for the repair of any item beforehand. However if repairs have already been made and you disagree with the price, this is a civil dispute.

You are entitled to receive a service which has been carried out with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time, for a reasonable price. If you feel that the price is excessive, the first course of action would be to get an independent written estimate of what someone else would charge to do the work.

If you still feel the price is excessive after this you can find out more here or by contacting Citizens Advice online or 0345 404 0506.

A cheque can ‘bounce’ for a number of reasons:

  • It has been cancelled by the drawer (the person who wrote the cheque)
  • There are insufficient funds in the drawer’s account
  • The cheque hasn’t been completed correctly
  • The bank suspects fraud, such as a stolen cheque

The banking institution will usually write instructions on the returned cheque to let you know why it has bounced.

The first three situations above can usually be resolved by contacting the drawer. However, if you suspect that a fraud has taken place, speak to your bank who may advise you to report the matter to the police. If so, you can contact our dedicated team, Action Fraud.

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

Bailiffs, also known as ‘enforcement agents’, work on behalf of the courts to collect debt. They have the power to take your possessions, sell them and give the money to your creditor (company/person owned money) if you have failed to maintain payments.

‘Debt collectors’ do not have the same powers as bailiffs, so always make sure they are legitimate by asking to see their proof of identity. This could be an ID card or badge, a contact telephone number, the company they work for, or a detailed breakdown of the debts owed.

If you are suspicious that a person is acting as a bailiff but will not produce ID when asked, they could be committing fraud. In this case, contact the company they say they work for.

There are rules that set out what a bailiff can and cannot do. For example, a bailiff:

  • Must give an enforcement notice at least seven days prior to visiting your home
  • Can only enter your home via the usual means and not, for instance, the window
  • Cannot enter homes where only children (under 16 years) are present
  • Cannot normally call outside the hours of 6:00am and 9:00pm
  • Cannot enter homes by force unless they are dealing with unpaid fines from magistrates’ courts or in possession of a court order
  • Cannot be used by landlords to seize property as rent arrears
  • Cannot take household items that are considered to satisfy basic domestic needs such as cookers, washing machines, clothing and bedding
  • Must wait seven days before selling goods retrieved from a debtor
  • Is responsible for proving to the court that a warrant must be issued in order to access premises that they believe has goods belonging to the debtor

In some circumstances a bailiff may have permission to use reasonable force as entry. This means they can forcibly open a door or cut a padlock. It does not mean that they can physically force their way past you or climb over walls or through windows to gain access.

Please note, you should not ignore the debts. They will not go away. It is better to try and negotiate with the creditors.

The following resources may also be of use:

Citizens Advice on bailiffs

HM Courts and Tribunals Service

National Debt line

Report a loan shark

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police