Upminster scrap dealer says he was threatened by ‘Knuckle Draggers’ from British Transport Police

Alan Gowing said he was wrongfully arrested at his scrap dealer business in Upminster in 2012

Alan Gowing said he was wrongfully arrested at his scrap dealer business in Upminster in 2012 - Credit: Archant

After a five-year legal battle an Upminster scrap dealer has spoken out about the treatment he received from the British Transport Police (BTP) in the Recorder’s second story about the BTP’s wrongful arrest.

Alan Gowing of FCR Metals Ltd in St. Mary’s Lane has been engaged in a long legal battle with the BTP since 2012 when officers raided his company without a valid warrant and in an area that was beyond their legal jurisdiction.

In what Alan described as a “hollow victory” he was awarded £6,450 in the High Court on Monday, June 19.

However, since his arrest, Alan has lost both his businesses, FCR Metals and First Car Recycling and has suffered life changing injuries.

Gillian Temple, president of the Scrap Metal Dealers Association (SMDA) represented Alan in court.

She said: “During the case, it was shown that there had been tampering of evidence including the warrant, of which three different versions were claimed to be the true copy.


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“It was also heard that Transport Police referred to the men that attacked Mr Gowing as ‘Knuckle Draggers’ and one of the men that attacked the scrap dealer was heard by other officers as saying ‘That’s what you get for [messing] with the Transport Police mafia’.”

At the police station Alan claims that when he refused for the officers to take his fingerprints, they took him into a room where they spent eight minutes torturing him.

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He told the Recorder: “[The officers] said to me, you have to talk or we’ll get the knuckle draggers.

“I asked him who were the knuckle draggers, and [the officer] said, ‘they are men of low intelligence and Neanderthal physique and they will hurt you’.”

Alan Gowing said he was wrongfully arrested at his scrap dealer business in Upminster in 2012

Alan Gowing said he was wrongfully arrested at his scrap dealer business in Upminster in 2012 - Credit: Archant

Gillian said: “It’s been horrific and awful to watch. The [High Court] judgement says that there’s no evidence.

“The only video footage was from the room next door, where you can hear Alan screaming but the Judge says this was just Alan being dramatic.”

Alan claims he was assaulted so badly at the police station that he required hospital treatment and later surgery to his rectum.

He was charged with 15 offences, two for obstructing police officers.

All of the charges were later dropped as the Crown Prosecution Service had no evidence to disclose.

“This has taken five years of his life and he’s put everything on the line believing that he was right,” Gillian said.

“He’s lost everything, two very successful businesses and he’s lost his business reputation.

“He’s had an emotional breakdown and suffers from post traumatic stress.”

Despite only receiving £6,450 for what Gillian believes is a case that was worth more than £7 million, she also believes that this is a victory for scrap dealers with similar claims.

Alan Gowing, with Gillian Temple from the Scrap Metal Dealers Association outside of the Royal Justi

Alan Gowing, with Gillian Temple from the Scrap Metal Dealers Association outside of the Royal Justice of Courts. - Credit: Archant

The president of SMDA hopes they will now be able to use Alan’s claim as case law for other local scrap dealers who have similar claims.

After reading over the judgement Alan said: “[The BTP have] dug themselves a very deep hole and we will be appealing.”

A spokeswoman from the BTP said: “British Transport Police are content with Sir [Alastair] Macduff’s verdict and are comfortable that all the officers involved in the case acted with a high level of honest and integrity throughout the criminal investigation and civil trial.

“They will not be subject to any disciplinary action.”

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