Gardener Jam’s waiting game over prison sentence

Jam Imani Rad
Jam Imani Rad
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A pensioner facing jail for unauthorised gardening work has been given a stay of execution.

On Monday, Jam Imani Rad, 66, expected to be arrested and sent to prison for breaching a suspended sentence, having refused to obey an order to remove items he had no permission for in gardens in Harrington Street, Preston, owned by Community Gateway Association (CGA).

But instead, the landlord has said nothing will be decided until an inspection has been carried out. A date for that has not been set.

Mr Rad said: “I’m feeling unsettled, not knowing what will happen. But when you’re facing disaster, your body turns off feelings and you become almost emotionless.”

Last month, a judge at Blackpool County Court ordered the retired teacher to remove unauthorised pieces - deemed to be health and safety risks - by July 18. But Mr Rad said he would rather go to prison than “destroy” his work.

A CGA spokesman yesterday said: “Until we arrange access to survey the property, our position is as it was after the court hearing.”

After the hearing, CGA said: “Mr Rad’s disregard for what CGA and the courts have asked of him, and his persistence in carrying out further work, has led to a significant amount of damage to both the interior and exterior of the property, which will have to be paid for by income from other tenants; money that could be spent elsewhere and invested in our properties and communities.”

A statement continued: “To be clear, CGA is not against tenants making improvements to their homes, so long as they obtain permission in advance, comply with their tenancy agreement, and do not cause damage as a result.”