Village chiefs setting new benchmark 
in claim game

Reporter Rob Stocks takes a seat in Stalmine
Reporter Rob Stocks takes a seat in Stalmine
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Hand over your trousers...

Where there’s blame there’s a claim, but there’s not always a payout, as village chiefs are keen to prove.

Civic leaders in Stalmine are standing their ground in the case of a bench, a new coat of paint and a pair of slacks.

The village’s Parish Council has been hit with a £50 claim for a pair of jogging bottoms which the owner insists were damaged when he took a freshly painted seat.

But councillors have decided, with public money at stake, to demand evidence before releasing the purse strings.

A resolution was passed at last month’s parish council meeting not to proceed until the sweat pants in question could be produced - something the authority is still waiting to see.

The decision is recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

They said: “Councillors noted a claim from a resident for damage to a pair of jogging bottoms which occurred when the owner sat on a recently painted bench where, the resident alleges, no ‘wet paint’ sign was displayed.

“Councillors further noted advice from the Council’s insurers and resolved to ask the resident to provide a signed statement asking for details of the accident, the provision of a receipt for the jogging bottoms and submission of the jogging bottoms themselves so that councillors can make a decision based on 
evidence.”

Jan Finch, clerk to Stalmine Parish Council, told The Gazette the owner of the trousers had not yet come forward with the goods.

She explained: “At the end of the day this is public money.

“We have to be able to see the damage and have evidence of the value of the trousers before we can go any further.

“The bench had been painted by our village lengthsman.

“He is usually very meticulous with his wet paint sign, which is a plaque he attaches to benches to warn the public.

“It is possible it was not present.

“But without seeing the damage, we cannot think about paying for replacements.

“It is only responsible when you are dealing with taxpayers’ money.”

Miss Finch made it clear the council was not dismissive of the claim.

The owner of the trousers is not named in the parish council report.