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Sanctuary ‘victim’ in repossession scandal

At a time when animal sanctuaries right across the UK are struggling due to the current financial constraints, it is hard to imagine that one such sanctuary can be facing eviction from their land because of property fraud, but that is what is facing the Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary.

With the government putting pressure on mortgage providers to try to help before seeking repossession of properties, the Rainbow Ark Sanctuary is facing eviction due to pressure from the bank, Redstone Mortgages and HL Interactive who are acting for the bank.

Paula Campbell has run the sanctuary for over twenty years, dedicating her life to saving animals. The sanctuary cares for dogs as well as other animals, altogether there are over two hundred animals there. The sanctuary allows visitors and regularly has school parties touring the site learning about the creatures there and how to be responsible pet owners.

The property fraud in which Paula is now embroiled started when her mother decided to sell some of the family land to help fund the sanctuary. A property value assessor acting for Andrew Craig Estate Agents came to value the land, which included, as a separate part of the deal, a bungalow. Mr Frost overvalued the property by several thousand pounds. With a valuation of over £350,000, this incorrect estimation of the property’s true value allowed the agents to lure Paula into a sham property deal, which included her bungalow in which her elderly mother lived.


Paula has been struggling to pay Redstone Mortgages to save the sanctuary, but could not keep up payments on the second loan to Golden Tree for the bungalow as well. Golden Tree has now repossessed the bungalow and Paula is fearful they will put in a claim for the sanctuary now. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paula has evidence which she has submitted to the Ombudsman that shows the valuer has connections with Golden Tree. He has since disappeared and Paula has had to let the bungalow go. The bungalow was part of the sanctuary, which was going to be turned into a cattery and small animal unit, managed by her mother, who really wanted to be involved in the work Paula was doing, was repossessed in a court case against institutional finance company, Golden Tree Asset Management Ltd. Paula’s mother now has to live in an elderly people’s residence scheme bungalow.

Paula has since been informed that this "overvaluation" fraud is happening across the country and allows developers to step in and purchase property for next to nothing. On attending the Andrew Craig office to protest, she discovered it had in fact been vandalised and staff inside refused to acknowledge Paula. A local man informed her she was "too late" and that there had been a number of people before her trying to get their hands on the ‘con artists’ responsible.
As Paula told us, “I am tired and worn out I really want to keep the sanctuary going but unless we can raise £8,850 immediately and another £10,000 shortly after we will lose the sanctuary. If only people would come and see what we do here, they would understand why we need to keep going. I am prepared to lay down my life for these animals, and I know what that means, my husband is an ex-armed forces man, he supports me and thinks I am doing the right thing”.

Hoping for more support and publicity she agreed to allow the RSPCA to use the sanctuary to film one of their programmes for their animal rescue series featuring RSPCA officers carrying out their duties. However there was no mention on the programme broadcast nationally, neither was any mention given to the sanctuary in the TV credits at the end of the programme. What was more upsetting was the knowledge that the sanctuary staff will regularly go out and rescue animals and birds that the RSPCA will not go out to rescue. In one instance a greyhound was reported to the RSPCA at 11:45am and they did nothing, the sanctuary was called at 5:00pm and although it took them until 11:50pm they eventually found the starving abandoned dog.


A claim has been filed for compensation against Allied Surveyors (with whom Andrew Craig Estate Agents has a franchise) and there is also an appeal with the Ombudsman, from whom the sanctuary are hoping for a provisional decision to be made, which could be in the next 3 to 4 weeks. This means that Rainbow Ark has to keep up with the bank's demands until her appeal is decided.

If any reader wishes to find out more about the Rainbow Ark Animal Sanctuary or help by making a donation the charity has two web sites which can be viewed and a group on facebook.


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