Man Who Parked Tank At Store To Protest ‘poor Quality’ Work Moves It

He is asking for a refund for what he described as the “poor quality” kitchen installation. 

<p>Paul Gibbons protest comes to an end as the tank that was parked outside Wickes in Basingstoke is taken away. PHOTO BY JAMES LINSELL CLARK/SWNS  </p>

A man who parked a tank outside Wickes in a row over a kitchen has finally moved it – but says the battle is not over.

Paul Gibbons, 63, says the £25,000 work by the chain was “incomplete, a threat-to-life and deadly”.

Paul drove the military vehicle at 6 am on December 27 to the store in Basingstoke, Hants, and has had it outside ever since – until today.

The tank is a 1965 decommissioned Abbot self-propelled gun which he borrowed from a friend who rents it to people wishing to protest against big companies.

Paul Gibbons, 63, says the £25,000 work by the chain was “incomplete, a threat-to-life and deadly”. PHOTO BY SWNS

He is asking for a refund from Wickes for what he described as the “poor quality” £25,000 unfinished kitchen installation at his home last February.

He says it has been overcome with “dangerous” issues including circulatory issues which are at risk of catching fire, mold under the sink, and badly fitting units – with one heavy cupboard nearly collapsing on his dog.

Paul, from Kingsclere, Hants, says he has to sleep downstairs due to the high risk of fire so he can escape without becoming trapped.

A sign was later posted on the vehicle warning that it would be removed ‘within 14 days’ of the date of the notice which was January 23.

Paul Gibbons, 63, says the £25,000 work by the chain was “incomplete, a threat-to-life and deadly”. PHOTO BY SWNS

Paul says Wickes’ note on the tank stated the vehicle was ‘not road taxed’ and it has been ‘abandoned there’ and they will be removing it today (Tues).

Paul disputes this but drove it away in case it got damaged but the chain.

Paul said: “I’m tired, worn out, but my voice is almost coming back now – I am not crushed yet.

“The tank is firstly road-taxed – so their statement isn’t true, and I have been with it 40 out of 41 days – that is not abandonment.

“I moved the tank today because it’s owner was worried for its safety.

‘It did more than it needed to and has done its job now – it’s a 1965 vehicle and there isn’t very many left.

“It is really about how this company can choose what they do and don’t do.

“They choose not to give people what they pay for – I don’t understand how they think they can get away with it.

“I don’t want a company to be able to do what they want without consequence – if they are going to take people’s money they should give them what they paid for.

“Lives have been blighted by this company, but we are all going to come together.
This is just the beginning.”

Though initially Paul admits he felt alone, depressed and powerless in his plight, he claims there are thousands of people just like him.

He said: “The tank was a way of making a very loud, very quiet protest, people wouldn’t talk to me if I was just sat outside with a placard – whereas when the tank was there, people came and asked me why and you tell them.

”This protest has taught me not only am I not by myself – but there are thousands fighting the same battle, I now realize that.

“We have to see if we can get something done because it’s not fair that a company like this, even though it’s not just this one, don’t give you what you paid for and then they don’t fix it.

“Why should they have the choice to not give me what I paid for because they can afford barristers and I can’t – it’s just so unjust and unfair.”

Paul explains he was offered £1,000 by Wickes to “get his kitchen fixed” – but he says this will barely cover the price of one switch.

He said: “When I had an independent person come down, they said the only way he would think of tackling it would be to rip it out and start again.”

An acrostic sign for ‘Wickes’ placed on the vehicle read ‘Warning Incompetent Complacent Kitchen Equipment Supplier.’

The sign, from Wickes, states: “This vehicle/item has been notified to us as being abandoned and/or not having valid road tax and will be removed within 14 days of this notice being issued.

“If this vehicle is not abandoned, please contact us on the below number immediately and/or arrange for it to be removed from site.”

It warns that failure to remove the vehicle within 14 days will result in it being “sold or destroyed”.

A spokesperson for Wickes previously said: “We arranged a full and independent inspection of Gibbon’s kitchen by The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman.

“Their assessment was that 2-3 days remedial work would be required to bring the kitchen up to a satisfactory standard.

“Following the independent inspector’s guidance, we offered to pay for the cost of the remedial works, plus an additional sum as compensation. Both of which Gibbons has rejected.

“As the safety and wellbeing of our team members is our number one priority, and following incidents when Mr. Gibbons has demonstrated unacceptable and aggressive behavior towards members of our team, we reported these incidents to the police and took the decision to issue him with an exclusion notice preventing him from entering our premises.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Gibbons has failed to comply with the exclusion notice.

“As the tank remains on our premises we are operating within our legal rights to issue the owner with a TORT notice.

“This requires that it is removed from our premises within 14 days, and if it is not we will have it removed by a specialist company.

“We would like to apologize to customers who have been inconvenienced or concerned by the tank in any way.

“Our offer remains open to Mr. Gibbons if he wishes to complete the remedial works to his kitchen and receive the compensation”.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker