Stand-off at gym as man who says he's the owner barricades himself in as bailiffs arrive (From Malvern Gazette)
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Stand-off at Fitness Rooms Health Club, Worcester, as man who says he's the owner barricades himself in as bailiffs arrive
Bailiffs wait outside Fitness Rooms Health Club in Sherriff Street.Picture by John Anyon. 0814523501
A man barricaded himself into a gym and refused to come out after bailiffs arrived to take away gym equipment.
The man parked his car in front of the front door and piled wooden pallets inside the door at the Fitness Rooms Health Club on Sherriff Street at around 7am yesterday.
An onlooker said customers were asked to leave and bailiffs removed one lorryload before the stand-off began.
Police were called after a row erupted.
One of the bailiffs, who would not give a name, said his team had arrived to take away Star Trac equipment they had previously installed on behalf of a finance company.
He said: "Somebody phoned the owner and he turned up screaming and shouting and locked the doors."
The man inside the gym, who said he was the gym's owner but refused to give his name, spoke to the Worcester News through an open window.
He said: "I have no idea why they are taking it.
"They're not bailiffs.
"I have no proof of who they are.
"I have not received anything from them as to what the hell is going on.
"I was asleep this morning and the staff called me about 7am to say stuff was being taken away.
"I have no help from the police.
"I locked the door and I'm waiting to see what happens.
"I'm scared to come out.
"They have no right to do this.
"I haven't missed any payments."
He later left and a sign was put up at the gym which said it was closed until further notice.
The wooden pallets remained in place across the door.
A police spokesman said police were only there to ensure no breach of the peace occurred but the dispute had ended peacefully with no arrests made.
Officers left just before 1pm.
Stephen Hickman, a gym member, witnessed the fracas after visiting nearby Screwfix.
He said: "The owner is refusing to come out.
"Apparently they want to take all the equipment away because they haven't paid the finance on it.
"I joined the gym about eight weeks ago.
"It's not so bad for me but I feel sorry for the young kids who come here and those who are retired if it shuts.
"It must be hard for them."
Liz Draper, another gym member, said she paid £15 a month to use Fitness Rooms.
She said: "I had no idea that anything like this was going to happen.
"It all looked quite normal yesterday."
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