Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Window Cleaning Wars - Round 1

Window Cleaner, Maple Drive, Scarbororough.
Window cleaners’ row ends in court: A row between two Scarborough window cleaners which started when one of the men tried to start his own business ended up in court yesterday. Philip Jones, 44, is accused of entering the home of John Massheder, in Maple Drive, through a bathroom window and stealing window cleaning equipment which he claimed belonged to him. Jones is also charged with later intimidating Mr Massheder by implying he would knock him off his window cleaning ladder and saying he would “pound” him, as well as kicking and damaging the van which he used for his business.

Jones, of Kirkdale, Kirkbymoorside, denies charges of burglary, witness intimidation and criminal damage. Mr Massheder also alleged that Jones had punched him in the face and told him he had paid for someone to break his legs as the feud escalated. Robert Galley, prosecuting on the first day of the trial at York Crown Court, said: “This can be summed up in a few simple words – it’s a conflict between two window cleaners and their ability to do their rounds.” The jury were told that Mr Massheder had worked for Jones as a franchisee of his Scarborough window cleaning business for around 18 months before he had decided to set up on his own after a disagreement.

Mr Galley added: “Mr Massheder went to a scooter rally in Wakefield. That day he received a text saying ‘your conservatory door was wide open so I got the stuff back’ from Mr Jones. “When he returned home the conservatory was insecure and all of his window cleaning equipment had been removed.” The court heard that information on Mr Massheder’s computer, giving details of his customers, had also been deleted by Jones.

Mr Galley said that although he had initially denied entering Mr Massheder’s home, Jones later accepted he had done so when a footprint was found but maintained he had the right to do so because he said the items belonged to him. Mr Massheder, who says his home was locked at the time of the alleged burglary, claims he had purchased the allegedly stolen items - a box, a belt, a ‘bucket on a belt’ and window cleaning rubbers and pouches - from Jones or obtained them independently.

Giving evidence, Mr Massheder said that Jones had been unhappy when he told him he planned on starting a rival business and that he gradually became more abusive after a series of rows. “He said ‘you watch nobody knocks you off them ladders’. I thought ‘I can’t be doing with this all the time’. I felt under threat.” He said that Jones had bought some equipment for him, because he could get a better price, but that he always reimbursed him in full. The trial continues.

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