Vicar’s dispute with bank giant

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A PRIEST says he was prepared to go to prison over a dispute with a banking giant.

And Rev David Brown only called off a one-man protest outside the Garstang branch of Barclays at the 11th hour when a credit card company apologised for the ‘incovenience’, after ordering him to pay back almost £2,000 spent on his stolen card.

Mr Brown, priest in charge of Scorton, Barnacre and Calder Vale, said he’d reached the end of the road following a four-month dispute with Barclaycard after someone used his credit card in stores around Preston and the Fylde.

He had been planning to stage his protest tomorrow, Thursday, in a desperate bid to highlight the issue.

And the rural cleric said he’d been ‘prepared to go to prison’ rather than settle the disputed bill.

But after The Courier’s intervention this week, Barclaycard agreed to write-off the £2,000 - and even offered to give him money to donate to charity as an apology.

Mr Brown says the first he knew about the bill was when he received a statement at Christmas. He protested to Barclaycard that he could not even recall receiving the card, though did remember applying for one.

Mr Brown, a former chaplain of Royal Lancaster Infirmary, said: “£500 was also taken out from a cash dispenser in Poulton-le-Fylde, then it was used - obviously buying women’s clothing - in stores in Lytham St Annes and Walton-le-Dale.”

He added: “It couldn’t be me - I know where I was when all the transactions took place. The stores included Debenhams, Next and M&S - and I buy my clothes from Oxfam!”

His annoyance at the situation grew when he was told if he did not settle the bill, money would be taken out of his Barclays savings account.

He appealed against the decision a month ago, but had not heard from the bank since, and had decided to protest outside Barclays in Garstang to draw attention to the issue.

The Courier contacted Barclaycard’s press office to ask for clarification and point out Mr Brown’s concerns.

Barclaycard responded that they had agreed to write off Mr Brown’s bill AND give him £50 for his favourite charity.

A Barclaycard spokesperson said, “We would like to apologise to Rev Brown for the distress and inconvenience caused by our handling of his case.

“We have now taken steps to refund the outstanding balance, cover any associated costs and provide a donation to a charity of Rev Brown’s choice”.

Mr Brown confirmed Barclaycard had been in touch with him following The Courier’s intervention and had rescinded the bill.