‘No client files’ at vandalised offices

Walter, Scott and Ross. Files to be removed.
Walter, Scott and Ross. Files to be removed.

A FORMER partner at now derelict law firm Walter, Scott and Ross has told the Advertiser the offices have been vandalised ‘beyond belief’.

Alastair Ross, who was spotted by neighbours clearing out paperwork from the St Mary’s Street offices on Friday, said that no clients’ files were inside the building, which has two ground floor windows completely smashed in.

Last week we ran a front page story about the building becoming a target for vandals after Anthony Shaw, of Wheeldon Close, appeared in court charged with stealing law books from inside.

Mr Ross said that since the article was published he has visited the offices with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA).

“The offices have been vandalised beyond belief,” he said.

“There were some papers there but it was not my responsibility to clear the office.”

When the firm was shut by the SRA in March 2009, Birmingham-based Martineau solicitors were appointed as the agents responsible for safely removing and storing all of Walter, Scott and Ross’s paperwork.

Mr Ross continued: “I was very surprised there was paperwork there at all.

“We took a few pieces of paper out, mainly to protect confidentiality but nothing involving clients. I’m pretty sick of that office being broken into and having to board it up again.”

Insp Nick Daines at Ilkeston police station said this week that he has also been assured by Mr Ross that there are no confidential clients’ files at the address.

Residents told the Advertiser last week that they feared the building falling victim to arsonists.

Officers from Erewash Borough Council’s building control department met Mr Ross last week to talk about securing the building.

And Mr Ross told the Advertiser he would have the broken windows boarded up by yesterday (Wednesday).

Although allegations of dishonesty were dropped, Mr Ross, 56, of Morley was fined £10,000 and Darrell Holmes, 47, of Derby was fined £12,000 for financial irregularities at the Ilketon law firm.

They were also both ordered to pay costs of £20,000 but are allowed to continue as solicitors.