PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR
For those new to the story, the gang referred to – with a couple of additions – hails from the Halifax area of West Yorkshire. They’ve bought property outside Nebo, a village south of Caernarfon, built a new house – ‘Snowdon Summit View’ – by exceeding planning permission, demolished the old house, removed hedgerows and cut down trees, and tried to steal land by bullying neighbours.
More recently the disruption to others’ lives has meant a new road and a bridge. All done to facilitate proceeding with the longer-term plans for the site, which will involve some kind of ‘Playground Wales’ horror show.
INTRODUCING JOHN JOSEPH DUGGAN
A good place to start this saga is June 30, 2005, at Bradford Crown Court, where 46-year-old John Joseph Duggan was jailed for more than six years. The court heard that Duggan had “masqueraded as 12 different characters to run a series of ‘ghost’ building firms which targeted unsuspecting trade merchants and private customers.”
The amount conned in this way was said to be £547,000, and the judge described him as a “professional fraudster”. There’s an account here in the Hebden Bridge Times, which is worth reading because it will prepare you for what follows.
At the time he committed these offences Duggan was already disqualified from being a company director, making it reasonable to assume that there had been earlier offences. The disqualification almost certainly explains why he used up to a dozen aliases. Duggan was then banned from being a director for a further fifteen years, up until 6 July 2021.
The following year, Duggan’s son, Jonathan James Duggan appeared in the same court, and before the same judge, the Recorder of Bradford, Stephen Gullick. Who described the younger Duggan as a “willing apprentice”.
In court the prosecutor outlined the modus operandi of what was headlined the ‘family business’: ” . . . building companies had been set up since 2002 and ordered materials and equipment from suppliers who were never paid. Each company was wound up after only a few months and a fresh company set up.”
With the materials and equipment obtained by deception sold for cash.
Like father like son, the younger Duggan was using the alias Ripley.
THE SON ALSO RISES
Then there seems to be a gap – certainly, I can’t find anything – between 2006 and August 2013 when Bryn Llys is bought and Jonathan Duggan turns up in Gwynedd. Were they living off their ill-gotten gains?
For it seems unlikely they could have done much business in the West Yorkshire area after such bad publicity.
But a company was formed in March 2012 with Jonathan Duggan and Andrew Battye as the directors . . . and the secretaries, for they kept changing roles. Bridge Glazing Systems Ltd lasted until July 2015 when it was wound up by creditors.
I’m having difficulty identifying Andrew Battye, because it seems to be a fairly common name in Yorkshire. I’ve located a few of that name, but they appear to be legitimate. This is important because the Land Registry lists Andrew Battye as the owner of Bryn Llys. He’s also listed as the owner of the land adjoining Bryn Llys. (To be explained later.)
Among others I’ve mentioned is Shane Baker, BritNat fan of Tommy Robinson, who appeared once or twice as a ‘rhubarb, rhubarb’ film or TV extra, and lives in a large mobile home on the site.
His Facebook page confirms that he’s inordinately fond of a certain flag. And if you’re looking for a hot tub, then Shane’s your man. I’m told he’s sold lots of stuff online over the years. We can but hope that the suppliers of these goods were paid.
When he’s not online retailing it seems Shane looks after Duggan’s dogs. “Lovely pups”, says Julie Appleton of Benllech. A family friend, I suppose.
Another Duggan associate is ‘property developer’ Aaron Hill, also a near neighbour. More on Hill in a moment.
But one I’ve rather overlooked recently is Jonathan Duggan’s half-brother, Scott Smith, who may still live in West Yorkshire.
It’s worth re-acquainting you with Smith because when we line up his business record with that of Duggan Junior we see a very similar ‘business model’ to the one that got their father banged up.
You have to wonder why people with the business records and family backgrounds of Jonathan Duggan and Scott Smith are ever allowed to start a company.
JOHN JOSEPH DUGGAN SCENE II
Following his time in prison after the 2005 conviction John Duggan relocated to Harrogate, in North Yorkshire. But he had no intention of going straight, and in April 2018 he was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court.
But he wasn’t in court to hear the sentence handed down, cos he’d done a runner.
Unable to emulate Lord Lucan he was arrested within weeks at Benllech on Ynys Môn, where he was living under a false name. Fancy that, a false name. He may have struggled to come up with one he hadn’t used before!
While searching for Duggan père police called in on Duggan fils and the gang at Bryn Llys. The image below from WalesOnline shows how the ‘extension’ dwarfs the (now demolished) original house.
John Joseph Duggan was sent down in April 2018 for five and a half years, so he might have been released by now. If not, then assuming he’s behaved himself, it can’t be long before he’s let out to rebuild his business empire.
HEARTS AND MINDS
We last read of the gang in Miscellany 02.03.2020 (section headed ‘Bryn Llys Bach’). There I mentioned the remarkable case of an old Land Rover spontaneously combusting, and an upcoming appearance at Llandudno magistrates court, so let’s catch up.
The court case was adjourned until Thursday and Friday of this week. Yet another adjournment. (Is this the third?)
When he’s not brushing up on his legal Latin and practising his rhetoric in the bathroom mirror, Jonathan Duggan has been complaining to anyone prepared to listen that he’s being victimised!
Even those who don’t want to listen have had to endure his self-pitying rants. In one incident, three weeks ago, outside the local school in Nebo, he was shouting and swearing, claiming nobody liked him, and that he just wanted to live quietly and farm. (He’s bought a few pigs and geese!)
Perhaps he doesn’t have the sense to realise that shouting and swearing at the school gates is guaranteed to get you disliked. Maybe he’ll get the message now that North Wales Police has served him with a Community Protection Notice (CPN).
This hasn’t been Duggan’s only recent brush with the law. For the Rural Crimes Officer is taking action over one of the dogs we met earlier attacking poultry in a neighbouring property. It’s not the first time his dogs have strayed and attacked poultry. I’m told Duggan’s gracing Caernarfon magistrates court early next month.
The postponed case I referred to is an appeal by the gang against an enforcement notice issued by Cyngor Gwynedd relating to the unlawful splitting or subdividing of the Bryn Llys title. This was something I wasn’t entirely clear about myself, but I think these are the details.
A previous owner of Bryn Llys, when it was a modest property with a small curtilage, bought some twenty acres of land. This explains title document WA936224 covering just the house and a small area, with title CYM579760 relating to the land surrounding the house. (Scroll down on both for title plan.)
The suspicion is that Duggan wanted to further split the Bryn Llys house title into two, one title for the original house, a new one for ‘Snowdon Summit View’.
The old title might then have been used for another ‘extension’ developing into a second monstrous blot on the landscape.
LIE OF THE LAND
Problems are not coming singly for Jonathan Duggan at the moment. On the one hand, he’s been presented with a CPN for his monologue outside Nebo school, he’s up before the Cofi beaks thanks to his chicken-munching dogs, and he’s due at the seaside this week to defend himself against the enforcement notice.
But it doesn’t end there – I’m told there are further enforcement notices in the offing. Here’s one I can tell you about.
This concerns the ‘land lying to the south east of Glanrafon Terrace’, which the title document tells us was bought from Aaron Hill . . . with a loan from Aaron Hill.
Duggan has had work done on this land improving access so that large vehicles and machinery can be brought in to press on with the next stage of ‘Project Snowdon Summit View’.
For as I mentioned earlier, Jonathan Duggan and his pals have made no secret of their plans for the site, and the formation last year of Bryn Llys Ltd, which is in the business of ‘holiday centres and villages’, should leave no one in any doubt.
The secretary and sole director of Bryn Llys Ltd is Andrew Battye, who is, according to the Land Registry, also the owner of Bryn Llys and the land around it.
The details for both the enforcement notice and the appeal can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website. Here’s a direct link to the enforcement notice. Further links here to the enforcement notice appeal form and the enforcement notice appeal supporting statement.
There are a couple of things worth a comment. Turning first to the supporting statement, read the panel below, which sets out Duggan’s justification for trying to become Nebo’s answer to Thomas Telford.
Can you imagine a crook like Duggan, who has terrorised his neighbours, and who has henchmen to back him up, plus large dogs, allowing anyone to hinder his access with “old gates and general rubbish”?
The material he refers to is well inside the boundary of the neighbouring property, leaving the Bryn Llys access clear. This is a pathetic attempt to justify his unauthorised work. As is the ‘fencing’ mentioned on the plan.
Proven by the fact that Duggan was able to use this access lane to bring in all the machinery and material needed to build ‘Snowdon Summit View’. Plus Shane Baker’s large mobile home.
Attempting to discredit the established access to Bryn Llys also explains the Land Rover fire at the end of last month. This was done to summon the fire service in the hope that any difficulty experienced by a large fire tender could support his claim, and undermine the enforcement notice.
But as I told you in the previous post, the local fire chief had visited the site earlier and said that Bryn Llys could be adequately covered by a ‘narrow access vehicle’.
Now let’s turn to the enforcement notice appeal form. Where you’ll see that the appellant is ‘Mr John Duggan’.
When I queried this with a source I was told that it refers to Jonathan Duggan. But the abbreviated form of Jonathan is Jon, not John. So maybe it’s a typo? I wouldn’t be asking if Jonathan’s Duggan’s father’s name was Wolfgang or Mustafa, but it’s John.
FOLLOWING THE MONEY
It is universally understood that Jonathan James Duggan and/or his father John Joseph Duggan own Bryn Llys and the land around. But they can’t admit that because they have so many unpaid creditors, from Jewsons to HMRC.
Which explains why Andrew Battye owns everything. (Don’t laugh, it’s rude!)
Being unable to admit to having assets may also explain the bizarre deal over the new land. Running out of legitimate lenders, and with Duggan unable to say that he’s bought this land with family money, he and Hill pretend that the vendor has ‘loaned’ the buyer the money to make the purchase!
And Duggan is definitely running out of lender options.
Going back to the title documents, you’ll recall that in October 2013 a loan or mortgage was taken out with the Bank of Scotland. Then, in June 2016, there is a further loan/mortgage with the Shawbrook Bank. (These loans covering both titles.)
But then, and only against Bryn Llys, title WA936224, we find a further restriction dated 18 September 2018, this one in favour of Andrew Peter Smith.
What does it all mean?
One possibility is that the involvement of an insolvency practitioner means the bag marked ‘Swag’ is getting empty. Duggan would have hoped to replenish it by selling ‘Snowdon Summit View’.
But the Duggans seem to be stuck with a hideous new house they’re finding impossible to sell, despite having dropped the asking price from £850,000 last summer to £650,000 last month, when it failed to sell.
If they are running low on loot, then the ‘purchase’ of the new land from Aaron Hill might be the last throw of the dice. For without the roadway and bridge the Duggans can’t hope to sell the new house, nor move on to ‘Snowdon Summit View Holiday Park’.
Duggan himself has contributed to the difficulty of selling by arguing that there is no viable access to Bryn Llys/’Snowdon Summit View’!
Desperation is taking hold. I’m sure Jonathan Duggan now hears the sirens of Shit Creek sing their beguiling song.
And this new land throws up another tantalising question. For as I’ve said, the Duggans can’t admit to owning anything for fear of creditors, yet with this new land Jonathan James Duggan is boldly listed as the owner. (But thinks he’s covered himself by claiming Hill loaned him the money.)
Duggan’s justification for laying the roadway and building the bridge across the land bought from Hill is to provide access to Bryn Llys. But why splash out £50,000 for the land, and many thousands more on the bridge and the roadway – to give access to a property he doesn’t own?
Looking back to the map provided by the agent in the appeal against the enforcement notice we read, “Blue line represents Bryn Llys site boundary prior to purchasing the additional land”. But Bryn Llys hasn’t bought ‘the additional land’. For Bryn Llys is owned by Andrew Battye and the new land by Jonathan Duggan.
If the new land forms part of Bryn Llys then either the new land belongs to Andrew Battye or Bryn Llys is owned by Jonathan Duggan.
The crooks are starting to contradict themselves.
For the benefit of any police forces considering using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, or creditors looking for what they’re owed, John Joseph Duggan and/or Jonathan James Duggan own a large house they believe is worth £650,000, plus 30 acres or so of land. And they may still have cash stashed away.
If Cyngor Gwynedd and others stick to their guns and enforce the law then Jonathan Duggan and his mates will have to remove the unauthorised roadway and bridge and reinstate the area.
And then, when that last throw of the dice has failed, the end will be in sight.
Whereas surrendering to Duggan’s bluster will start another sequence of unauthorised works, leading to one enforcement notice after another, more court appearances, and yet more misery for the neighbours.
The time has come for firm and decisive action to finally deal with these crooks.
♦ end ♦