The BoxparkBalls Fund

Inside Croydon has been around for nearly seven years, and never before have we asked for any financial help from our loyal reader.

But that time has come, in order to pay some legal bills incurred in defending  - successfully, we're happy to say - an attack against the right to report some of the goings on in our town.

Towards the end of last year Inside Croydon received a solicitor's letter on behalf of Boxpark - or Boozepark as we tend to call them - threatening to sue us.

The complaint  was, of course, utter bollocks.

Our report - which you can read here - was well-sourced and accurate.

It looked to us that Boozepark's lawyers had engaged on something of a fishing expedition, trying to accuse us of running some anonymous Twitter accounts - something which their letter suggests was suggested to them, we think possibly by someone at our Labour-run local council. Yep, the same council that handed Boozepark a £3m loan out of public funds, but never bothered to insist that the company pays its staff the London Living wage.

We will be reproducing the Boozepark lawyers' pathetic little threats on the website.

As is the nature of these things, we needed to provide Boozepark with a suitable response. We sought expert legal advice, and went to the libel lawyer who often represents Private Eye magazine, the same organ which gave the world the robust riposte to legal threats in the case of Pressdram v Arkell.

For anyone unfamiliar with the reply offered on that occasion, you can read all about it here.

We like to think that the reply which our lawyer sent to Boozepark had a similar impact.

Certainly, we have not heard anything from the chancers since then.

But getting a top lawyer to defend the right of free speech and independent journalism costs.

Inside Croydon has received threats before - from a Tory councillor who was abusing her position to tout for private work, and twice by a certain Labour MP who does not like having people reminded of his spying on colleagues. Plus there's been the anonymous threats and vitriol from those who clearly don't like light being shone into their dark little corners.

But on this occasion, we need to ask for your help to pay the legal bills.

Boozepark, thanks to its council loan, will have been able to pay their lawyer to make their ridiculous attack against us. We have no recourse to reclaim our costs incurred to defend ourselves.

We hope you will chip in, in the cause of continuing to have a truly independent source of news and views that is actually based in Croydon, with some campaigning journalism which, from time to time, actually does get things changed for the better.

All we are asking is for a contribution to what we are calling (in the style of Private Eye), the BoxparkBalls Fund, for an amount which pays the invoice from our lawyers.

We have thousands of visitors to the site every weekday. So we're hoping that most of you might contribute just a fiver towards the cause.

Maybe those who can afford a little more could do so.

You don't need to be identified publicly, if you'd prefer to make a donation discreetly.

But we need to make the payment very soon.

We dislike passing round the begging bowl in this way, but hope you understand. We would really appreciate your support.

None of this cash will be used for anything other than to pay our lawyers.

It would be a huge help, and will enable us to continue to nip and niggle away at some of the nonsenses and injustices which are being encountered by fellow Croydon residents on a daily basis.

Thank you.


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Steven Downes 
Croydon, Greater London, United Kingdom
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