Former Dewsbury councillor in three hour air rifle stand-off over council tax bill

Glyn Powell.
Glyn Powell.

A former Dewsbury councillor armed himself with a high-calibre air rifle and threatened to shoot two bailiffs during a stand-off at his home over an unpaid council tax bill.

Dr Glyn Powell, 65, pointed the .22-calibre break-action gun at the two men and shouted: “I’ll shoot!”

He also grabbed a knife and waved it in the face of one of the bailiffs, threatening to cut him.

The two debt collectors were so frightened they called police.

Armed-response officers swooped on Powell’s home in Bakersfield Drive, Kellington, near Selby, on August 20.

He locked himself inside his bungalow for three hours, before finally giving himself up.

Powell was arrested and charged with affray and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

He pleaded guilty to both charges at York Crown Court on Monday.

The married father-of-two was an independent socialist councillor for the Dewsbury East ward between 1990 and 1994.

Prosecutor Peter Sabiston said the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding over who owed the debt to the council.

He said that Powell exploded in a rage when two officers from a debt-recovery agency turned up at his home at about 6.30pm to question him about the tax bill, which appears to have been owed by another man of a similar name.

Powell, formerly of Middle Road, Earlsheaton, launched into a foul-mouthed tirade and slammed the door shut on the officers.

“Very shortly afterwards he appeared at the door with an eight-inch knife with a jagged edge and waved it in the direction of one of the bailiffs,” said Mr Sabiston.

Fearing for their safety, they stepped back from the front of the bungalow, but Dr Powell opened a window and pointed the gun at them, swearing and threatening to shoot them.

In a police interview, Powell made full admissions but remained unapologetic about threatening the bailiffs with the unloaded rifle.

Mr Sabiston said: “He said the bailiffs had come two weeks previously but he was adamant they had got the wrong address and that the person who owed the council tax was someone else.

“He said that if they had crossed the threshold he would have stabbed them. He said he had no regrets, and that the next time he hoped the gun was loaded.”

Glen Parsons, mitigating, said Powell was a man of good character who had devoted his life to helping others, particularly the poor.

Mr Parson’s said his irrational behaviour could be explained by serious head injuries he suffered in a horrific road accident in November 2005, when he was knocked off his bike by a 40-tonne road sweeper and received £200,000 compensation.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said he accepted this had contributed to his behaviour, but added that the offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence would do.

He said: “When you were arrested you were anything but remorseful about what happened, and you took the view that you were in your rights to threaten the bailiffs in the way you did. You had a very poor regard for the bailiffs, the police and the authorities.

Mr Ashurst said he acknowledged that Powell had helped upwards of 5,000 people at industrial and employment tribunals, but that on August 20 he had been his “own worst advocate”.

The judge imposed a 12-month prison sentence, but suspended this for two years on account of Powell’s age, chronic ill-health and the fact that he was viewed as being at a low risk of re-offending.

Powell was also made to pay £425 in prosecution costs.