Mark Pollard behind the bar at the Hope Inn, Stockport, where he was landlord for approximately one year; and his wife Debbie (now remarried and known as Debbie Ginder).
Over the course of the second half of 2010 and during the majority of 2011, I was under the impression that I was going to be entering into a business venture with Mark Pollard, to run a comedy club, which is what the main comedy nights at the Hope, on the first Friday of each month, were leading to – start off by enticing people in for free with a view to setting up a club and charging for it later. Up until the point where he left the Hope Inn, he has almost £60,000 of my money, mostly from my late grandfather’s inheritance, and my attempts so far to get any of this back have proved entirely fruitless, hence my now making this public.
Having met him for the first time over a year earlier, where I made the biggest mistake was in trusting him in any of this to the point where I even agreed to transfer money into the joint Halifax account belonging to him and Debbie, which he told me was being put into a separate account, which he later told me was a Barclays one. It sickens me to think that I never thought to draw up a contract or insist that the account was in both our names, but he told me it was a joint venture between us and Tom Stade.
Mark has proved himself as a very convincing man in this entire operation, even to the point of claiming the sorts of comedians he could get to come to our club, once suggesting that he was even going to get Jimmy Carr to perform at the Hope in April 2011 (which came after he had brought in Tanyalee Davis to perform there, a comedienne who has also performed off the Las Vegas strip). He told me about going to network at parties down in London with comedians such as Micky Flanagan and many others. Given the calibre of the nights put on at the Hope, and the comedians I had seen him with, I didn’t doubt his credentials. He even told me one time that he’d just missed out on booking Reginald D Hunter for the November 2010 comedy night at the Hope, as someone else had booked him.
Over the time, which I shall describe, I felt I thought he was giving me much-needed direction in my life. Along the way, he kept saying things like how important friends were, and that he was pleased I was working with him because he said he could give me a task and I’d just get on with it, such as all the research I did into looking for suitable comedy venues. There were times when he told me, and everyone else around him, how much Debbie had been ill and the amount of friendship support I gave him couldn’t have been topped. I even believed the support he was giving me was real, over a number of difficult times in my life during this time. He clearly took advantage of me as he knew the state I was in, and said all the right things to make me think he actually had my best interests at heart.
Also, I asked Mark for the money back and he claimed that his bank put a hold on things because, as he was trying to pay money into my account in similar amounts that I was paying money into his, his bank thought there was money laundering going on. Around the time this was about to be resolved, he said that since Debbie had put in a claim for Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance and that the CSA had frozen all his accounts because they have children, and he had no money of his own up until the point where he went to Canada in October 2011.
By the end, he even talked about moving back to Canada and he would give me Thistle Comedy(!) I’m not exactly sure what I would do with something that wasn’t clearly defined in the first place.
I understand he owes money to others, including a relative from whom he borrowed £400 to use to go to Canada, telling them his bank accounts were frozen. To date, they have not received this back. On that subject, he once told me, “If we lose it all, at least we’ve given it our best shot.”
Naturally, I told him I’d rather NOT lose all my money.
I thought my life was changing for the better. It certainly changed for the worse. Thanks to Mark Pollard, I ended up having to borrow money from my family to help just pay the bills. He has emotionally and financially completely ruined & ripped my life apart. Since then, I’ve been trying to rebuild my life and it’s not been at all easy. I state all this before I go into detail because I need to. And I have to add that if anyone reading this feels like making any wisecracks or criticism about me, just don’t. I have been to hell and back over this, many times. And I still do on a regular basis.
It feels incredibly embarrassing to go into all this detail, so why am I doing it? Because I don’t want anyone else to get ruined by him. As one relative told me, “He’s really done a number on you.” They are sadly right. This piece may not result in me getting any or all of my money back, but if I can stop him doing it to someone else, then at least that’s something.
Before I continue, I’ll mention some of Mark’s favourite phrases. One was “Everything happens for a reason” and another was constantly talking about “belt and braces” in terms of keeping our money secure.
He also told me that he “knows a lot of very nasty people”. Make of that what you will.
After reading this, it’s entirely up to you how you proceed with this man, but I can only advise that if you have any personal or professional dealings with Mark Pollard then do yourself a favour and cease them with immediate effect. And encourage others to do the same. I know he manages around 10 comedians under his “Thistle Comedy” company name.
If he comes into your venue, I urge you to turn him away. Naturally, I wouldn’t expect everyone to do that without wanting to personally verify all this with me first so I would be prepared to speak to any promoter about this, but if I get a lot of requests for this then please bear with me.
Of course, if you want to question him on it, that is fine by me, too. Every word of this is true.
Note that I have not mentioned here any legal steps I have taken, or am willing to take, in resolving this. I will not be entering into any discussion about this, so please do not ask.
Note also that I’ve never spoken to Tom Stade about any of this, so I don’t know if he was ever aware of it. I only saw him 4 or 5 times during this whole situation and there were always lots of other people about so it wasn’t exactly something I could start a conversation about.
I shall describe the sequence of events and the payments have been made, but when I have thought that I will never see my money again, you can imagine how it’s made me feel. I don’t particularly want to describe it, not in print, anyway. I never believed that this is how Mark Pollard would make me feel.
July 8th 2010 – I invested an initial amout of £10,000 with a view to setting up a comedy club at the Ash Hotel, Heaton Norris. I was led to believe, by Mark, that both he and Tom Stade had each invested the same amount.
The night before, Mark showed me around the place, pointing out one room that was suitable for open mic nights, one for main comedy nights, an outdoor area for summer comedy events, wedding receptions, kids play area, etc. He even claimed that there were so many rooms in there that some could be used for shooting homemade porn films in.
August 5th 2010 – We looked at a second, smaller, pub, called the Boundary, in Audenshaw, but one that had a good space for creating a dining area. I invested £2,250 into this, as I understood he and Tom Stade were also doing so. Although I didn’t see whatever it had to offer upstairs, and was expecting to do so later,
As the months passed, the Boundary fell by the wayside and he told me the Ash Hotel was bought out by a bakery, so both of these were off the table. He also told me he was getting his solicitors involved, preparing to take the owners to court for the hassle they put us through and that we would be able to get £20,000 out of this which we could put back into the pot for our business venture.
Nov 25th 2010 – I went to look at Hollywood pub in Edgeley, where Mark was having it cleaned up with a view to starting a club there. Another comedian (name withheld, but they are on my Facebook friends list) was cleaning the carpets and another individual present (name withheld, and it is not anyone I have ever been involved with) also seemed to be involved but I didn’t know in what capacity. Soon after, Mark told me that the Hollywood was a no-go because of the latter. I’m not going to go into detail about who that person was or why it was, therefore, a no-go because I only have Mark’s word for that reason.
January 9th 2011 (all subsequent dates are in 2011), I agreed to loan him £3,500 to buy a car. He was going to pay me back at £225/month over 20 months, totalling £4,500. I got one payment on Feb 22nd. The rest were due on 22nd of each month after, but none came through. He claimed he was chasing this up with the bank on a great number of occasions.
March 1st – By this point we were looking at making the home of the comedy club at the basement in the Garrick Theatre in Stockport. We’d first come across this place a short time earlier when Mark was looking to see how much the Stockport Plaza would rent out their theatre, with a view to holding some dates there for Tom Stade. He asked me to give Ted Doan a shout at the Plaza, who said their Cafe Lounge holds 80 people, their main house holds 1250, and there’s also the Garrick Theatre which holds 160. I got the number for the Garrick’s Roger Mellor and gave him a call to have a look around.
We’d had a look round it, along with Mark’s bar manager and also a builder friend of his, who was also a regular at the Hope, and estimated that we’d need to invest a total between us of around £50,000. I had around £12,500 in already by then, as he said he had. He told me then that Tom Stade had asked for his money back as he was short on funds, so I agreed to put in, not only another £7,500, as he said he was going to do from himself, plus £10,000 for Tom Stade, and I was due to get this back in September after he got paid wages from his summer tour. Hence, a total of £17,500 on this date.
We had a couple of meetings with Roger Mellor and Peter Aspinall at the Garrick Theatre, during which Mark gave various ideas about stage layout and what things might be like in 25 years in that we might even have a chain of these clubs, like the Frog and Bucket and Comedy Store, and with his connections at both of those, you could have a comedian on stage in Stockport to open then taken over to Manchester to close and vice versa.
March 30th – Mark told me how we could apply to the immigration to get international permits for comedians from overseas. Initially, he said we’d each need to invest £4,488, with a further payment of £1,770 on April 18th. Two further payments followed in all this of £1,377 on May 13th, and £750 on July 22nd. I never saw any documentation.
April 30th – Despite our intention to rent the basement from the Garrick Theatre, at one point the two men we were dealing wth started to ask us for a contribution to help repair the gable end of the building. Mark said he could get an insurance policy which would cover this and any other future problems, at a total of £2,100 each.
May 6th – £1,250 for my half of the deposit to secure renting The Yew Tree, Northern Moor. By this point, the Garrick was off the table as the two men we were dealing with had different views about how things should proceed. Mark said he didn’t trust them and asked me to call Roger, one of the two men, and put things on hold because Debbie’s pancreatic tumour had returned. He told me that a while back she had had cancer of the gall bladder, then had that removed, and that they thought it was coming back as she getting stomach pains, but that it wasn’t certain what it was, and told me to tell Roger that we would in touch within the next few weeks. Roger told me he’d put it on hold for a couple of months and then put it up for rent to anyone else who might want it after that period (the basement hadn’t been used in 12 years so it was unlikely to be used in the near future)
At this time, he said he was unable to get the funds already put away from his accounts which were frozen. In the end, we didn’t go with the Yew Tree either, as when we looked around, the place had been broken into and trashed and Mark told me that Punch taverns weren’t willing to stump up on their insurance to pay for it – someone would have to buy it and pay to do it up.
He talked about holding “Plenty of Fish” events at The Yew Tree, Northern Moor. Their Facebook page showed previous events that had been held at this place, so it would be something that could be picked up.
May 18th – £320 for two tyres for the car I had at the time, a Mazda RX8. I never had them fitted. At one point where this was about to happen, Mark said the garage had sold one of them to someone else and they had to order in a second. When another time came when they were going to be fitted (at the same time as the clutch and gearbox being replaced – at a cost of £1350 which he said he’d ordered from Japan and which took 3 weeks to be shipped to the UK. This was at a time when I still trusted him and whereas I only thought the clutch needed replacing, which Mazda themselves told me would cost £600 to be done, he said his garage had found a bend in a part between the clutch and the gearbox and the only way to be sure would be to have the whole lot done. At this point I still intended to keep the car), he told me the garage couldn’t do it because there should be a key to unlock the tyres with. I didn’t have one and had never heard of such a thing. He said he’d ordered one and paid the £20 for it.
About the car, I’d had this for almost a year by then and had had a number of problems with it (including the above), leading me to wish I’d never bought it, but it was something I’d always wanted after I had some money from my grandad’s inheritance back in 2009. I’d had this car previously MOT’d at the garage he uses (I can’t remember the name of it offhand and I no longer have the MOT certificate for this car as I have since sold it) and at this point I didn’t have any immediate plans to sell it, but the work needed to be done as they were getting close to the limit.
To give an example of how Mark Pollard had gone to pretending that he was a good friend, he not only too an active interest in helping me seek out the model I wanted, but also came to both garages to try and haggle the price down. The main Toyota RRG deal in Stockport would only go down £250 to £10,750 for a ’56’ model, while, in advance of me being able to give it a test drive, he took a diversion from where he was going the day before to Dale Car Motors, Rochdale, and haggled the price down to £9,700 for their ’57’ model. On the day of the test drive, where I bought the car (Sat May 22nd 2010), he even left his car behind at the garage so I could get back home to go out with my family for lunch with both the Mazda and my 14-year-old Punto (this is not the car I later bought from him, BTW). Such behaviour is normally one you would expect from a good friend who has your best interests at heart, not from someone looking to trick you.
June 1st – £2,500 for a temporary loan, as he couldn’t pay the rent on the Hope and had been let down by someone else, claiming he was getting stuck in traffic trying to get to them and then they had skipped the country owing him £8000. He told me I’d get that back within a month, but I didn’t. I only lent him this money because I had previously loaned him £2438.14 on 02.02.11 when the bailiffs called and I did get this back on 02.03.11.
June 2nd – £1,900 for another loan. This was to stop bailiffs coming in again to the Hope and taking more stuff, so he told me.
July 27th – By this time we were looking to buy the Hope. Out of the money we had in the bank so far, Mark said he could raise another £8000 and needed a remaining £3,100.
August 11th – I was interested in following in Mark’s footsteps in buying and selling cars, and he suggested that to save myself some money insuring it, he could add it to his motor trader’s policy. For £900 outlay of my own money, he obtained a Red PT Cruiser which someone was looking to sell (reg GK52 MWZ). I also spent another £306 to get taxed, new log book & MOT’d, plus £8 to advertise on Ebay. I had no takers. When Mark eventually came back from Canada, the only time I saw him after that (on Thurs Oct 20th), he told me it was on the driveway of a mutual friend (which they later confirmed). It later turned up in the Hope car park, but before I could get it for myself, it had gone again. There were no keys left behind the bar. I can only presume Mark has it back as I have no other information to confirm anything else. It’s in his name even though I paid for it, so the only other option is if he’s sold it…
At this point, there was a new barmaid at the Hope, who had been put there by the brewery and she claimed to have no knowledge of its whereabouts.
September 26th – £2,700 in cash. I sold the Mazda RX8 to Motor Corner, Heaton Moor for £5,200 and got a part-ex with Peugeot 206 for £2,500. The cash needed to be put in the bank and we were going to go to the Halifax later in the week to get things sorted out and I agreed to put it in his pub safe in the meantime. This didn’t happen & he went abroad on 2.10.11 before I could get it out of there, later claiming while he was away and that he had taken the safe key with him, stating he would post it back. It never materialised…
In the meantime, I agreed to go on Mark’s motor trader car insurance policy, as it would be cheaper for me. He used £350 of this £2,700 to add me to his policy. I never received a copy of the insurance document. He said while the current insurance would end at the end of December 2011, the money I had paid would cover me until the end of 2012. I didn’t realise this was only a third-party product and asked about changing my part of it to fully comp, but he never replied to me about that. The insurance ran out at the end of November 2011 (you can check a car’s insurance validity at askmid.com), after which I had to insure my own car.
Fri Sept 30th was what became the last Quiz Night at the Hope, and I didn’t get to quiz him about my cash because by the time there might’ve been a chance to, he’d long since sneaked off to bed. I figured I’d speak to him the next day and phoned him in the evening, but he gave me some spiel about how he couldn’t chat long because the boss from the brewery was due to come in to discuss something or other. After chatting for a few mins, he said he had to go as they’d arrived. I texted him later to ask how the meeting went and he replied: “Still here :(“
Then on the Sunday morning, he texted me to say: “Got a flight from (relative who lent him £400), she phoned me this morn, rushed out like fuck!! Will tell (temp person standing in for him at the Hope) bout money and will make sure trans goes thru this week. Txt me when it hits so I know all is well. Need this sooo bad. Don’t phome me it will cost fortune. See (temp person standing in for him at the Hope) about training up* and keep your eyes n ears open to what is going on at pub mate see u soon x”
(*I was going to train to work in the pub as I had no other work at the time)
While he was away, he claimed that the banks had resolved all their issues and that several grand, as a starting point, was going to go overnight into my account on Weds Oct 5th/Thurs Oct 6th. It did not.
Also, while he was away, his mobile number stopped working, as did the only mobile number anyone had for Debbie.
On the Monday, Oct 3rd, he sent me a Facebook message:
“Wow…. that was a whirlwind trip over here to Canada.
I have the bloody safe key in my pocket, did not realise till I got here and unpacked and started to sort my stuff out.
It only 7 AM, but as soon as post office opens I will post it across to (temp person standing in for him at the Hope). Everything happened so fast. My phone is not working properly over here either, so have to sort that out asap. FYI its 90p per min to call me, and I get charged 39p per min too!!!
think about coming over, I will check my emails over next day or so, as I am at a local cafe just now, so will try and get some access.
Deb should have left the pub by now, so suppose this is where it all gets messy with her, but we will see.
Be in touch soon
I later replied:
“Hi, I won’t be able to think about coming over until I’ve got some money in my bank.
My first JSA payment’s due today, it hasn’t come in and I couldn’t get through on the phone when I tried briefly anyway but I’ll go down in a bit and try to phone from the Jobcentre as they use 0845 numbers and there’s no free alternative :/
How long would the key take to come over by post? Before I got your msg, I asked (temp person) if he had access to the safe, as I presumed you’d discussed it, and he said he hadn’t.
I asked him about shifts but he said he wouldn’t be able to pay me while I train up as he’d need to be there and he only gets £50 a day for running the pub, from which you have to pay out staff wages etc. I remember you said something about getting £350/week and doing the same. I was hoping I could get paid while training up, though.
Yep, Deb left last night. I went over about 6ish as I didn’t have (temp person)’s number and I got over there just as he was giving her a lift to her new house. That’s when he said to come over for midday today but we didn’t get a great deal sorted out other than suggesting I come in to do some training now and then, so I’m planning to go back this evening.
He said there were only 6 people in for the karaoke last night.
If things are going to get messy with Deb, what about the financial side of things, as the account with both of our monies in is all in your name so I’ve had a thought about temporarily transferring mine back until you get things sorted out with Deb. Let me know what you think. It’s just that if she can claim half of what’s in your name, that gives me a concern.
Right, I’m going to head down to the Jobcentre in a bit to speak to them and then I might go swimming to clear my head a bit before heading back to the pub later.
Me: “Hi, not sure if you’ve been online since yesterday, but I was just chatting with (aforementioned relative) on FB and she confirmed what (pub regular) said in the pub yesterday evening that you’d in Canada for a month. I thought it was a couple of weeks.
I need to know if the safe key is on its way back as at the moment I’m absolutely brassic and I know Halifax are meant to be sorting things out by Thurs, but given their past history, I’m not counting my chickens on that one.”
Mark: “ticket open for a month but will have to back before then.Key posted yesterday, but no idea how long it takes from here.Will try n get stuff sorted from here. am not even enjoying being here to be honest, missing the kids so much and just want to get back to the pub, but need a week to myself to get my head round things. will email again in couple days mate (please dont worry everything will be fine, i know easier said than done) I had to get away, or i was going to have a mental breakdown”
“Hi, ta re: the key. I mentioned on Monday to (temp person) about you posting it back. I haven’t been back in since, but am planning to do so tomorrow evening.
Just checked my Halifax account, although I checked overnight when I woke up and again this morning, and no money has gone in. Has anything gone in yours and can you give them a shout, please? And did they say how much was meant to be transferring into mine? You said you’d be getting a letter about it. Ta.
Hope you’re feeling better today. I can feel myself heading on a downward spiral as well. Just can’t sleep and everything’s making me feel like screaming :(“
Also, I sent him:
“Also, the PT Cruiser hasn’t sold on Ebay (the woman who emailed me originally got back to me and said “we’re not in a position to buy a car at the moment”. I’ll ask if she’ll make an offer at all, but I’m going to need some help in shifting that.”
Me: “No money has come in today. I’m absolutely beside myself at the moment and I’m off to the doctors in a minute because I’m feeling massively depressed. I need to get all my money sorted out and back in my account ASAP. I’m getting such little sleep at the moment that I can’t function properly.”
Mark: “Will ring them now, I have nothing in either, and that screws me because i am broke and in a foreign country. will mail you as soon as i talk to them”
Later Mark said: “I have to sign something at my bank apparently ,i am trying to get my bank to fax the thing \i need to sign to a bank over here where \i can go in with ID and show them I am who i say I am then get them to fax it back across. will update you as soon as i know,
this is all so fucked up, and crazy. I am going to get all this sorted out then I think will sort out all your monies, and send back to you, then i will just get a job. my head is in bits.”
Me: “Like I say, it’s just a temporary thing, but at the moment I’m so at my lowest ebb and the doc gave me some antidepressants called Sertraline and told me to see her again in two weeks.
I know first-hand that there’s no jobs out there, unless you know of any we can both go in for?
Did the bank fax this thing over?”
Me: “Hi, the key hasn’t arrived as of this morning. I’m getting really worried now as it should only take 3-4 days at most?
Also, the car insurance I’m now on *is* fully comp, isn’t it?”
Me: “Hi mate, any news on the bank? As far as I know, the safe key hasn’t yet arrived.”
Mark: “cant get to bank here till tomorrow as its thanks giving holiday weekend, everywhere closed, its like a ghost town not even mcd`s is open! key should arrive shortly was told here it can take up to 12 working days, depending on speed of incoming service (pot office) am going to be heading back at end of week, need to see whats happening with the hope. when is comedy cavalcade?”
Me: “Ta re: confirming bank and key info. Let me know how it goes when the banks are open (I presume tomorrow?)”
Me: “Any news on the bank situation, mate? Let mek now about the car insurance question too, ta.”
Me: “i need to know about the bank and the car insurance queries. Please let me know ASAP. And can you tell me when you’re due back in the UK? Ta.”
Mark: “bank stuff was signed yesterday. insurance is TPFT (never needed anything more) I get on the plane at 23.50 on tuesday. arrives in Manchester at 10.30am weds morning”
Me: “Ta. What happens next with the bank stuff in terms of them sorting out the money and how long?
For the insurance, can I pay a bit extra to get mine fully comp? I’ve always had that before. I know it’s rare that someone would bang into me or vice versa, but I’m understandably concerned about being fully comp as it’s what I’ve always been on. I should’ve asked this earlier, but I just assumed it was fully comp.
Ta for confirming flight details. Is there anything you need me to do in the meantime?
The next Cavalcade is a week on Friday (21st). Can you confirm the car insurance is fully comp? I meant to ask before you left. I’ll need to get a copy of the document also as I need to tax it at the end of the month.”
Me: “Hi mate, can you let me know when any money is due to hit my bank? Ta.
I’ve set up an event for the Cavalcade this coming Friday. Shall I say there’ll be sandwiches* for this too? Let me know.”
(*Since the September quiz night, Mark had talked about making the sandwiches a regular thing and also having the quiz night twice a month, with some questions based around the Cavalcade nights so as to cross-promote it)
Me: “Nothing’s gone in the account today. I need to hear back from you, mate.”
Me: “Just txtd you. Are you back this morning? I’m going out of my mind with worry about money and there’s a lot of things I need to talk to you about.”
Me: “Mark, what is happening? I’ve just tried ringing your mobile and it’s not connecting. I’ve just tried ringing the pub and you’re not there. Where are you? I need to speak to you ASAP!”
This was the day that Mark was due back, although I didn’t see him on this day and I found out that while he was away, Debbie had cleared all his stuff out of the Hope. I went up to have a look around and, contrary to the times I’d been upstairs before where it was decorated as a home, this time I found it full only of abandoned rubbish, along with the stench of urine and faeces from their two Alsatians who seemed to be left to roam inside. It was like one of those movies where the main character is strung along for the entire film, only to find out right at the end that everything he knew was a lie.
Mark (Ian Coulson owns the place next door on the left of the Hope, he was planning to buy it & Mark told me he would’ve leased it to Mark): “Am back. At Bank today (thurs) at 4.30PM. Will call you as soon as been in there. My mobile is off, 02 decided to bar my phone because I was in Canada, so trying to sort that out too. pub has sold apparently but not to Ian Coulson, so we lost the hope inn 🙁 Will talk to you later mate.”
Me: “I want to meet you before the bank so we can go together. Whereabouts are you at the mo? Have you got another number you can ring me on? Give me a bell asap.”
Me: “Just txtd you. Don’t know if you’re getting texts but I need to hear back so we can meet up before the bank meeting as I need to come with you.”
Well, I met up with Mark, although he wasn’t expecting it (the look of shock across his face was a picture, as was the same for Debbie), at around 3pm, to not only get his new number but to find out what was happening with my money. He tried to tell me that he’d got the Bank of Scotland to do a transfer to his and my banks (mine is Halifax) of £7,500 and had said that he’d been trying to arrange this and that it would go in banks overnight on Thurs/Fri but it didn’t. Even though I said I wanted to go in there with him on the Fri, he claimed on Fri 21st Oct that he went ahead in there without me and said he stood there while they do it. Just before 5pm on 21.10.11, he claimed the money had gone in his account but not in mine (I checked in branch).
On the 20th, he even said he was thinking of transferring more money than he owed me, into my bank account, but to whom he was trying to make it look like he had less money, I don’t know. This is money laundering.
He claimed to be estranged from his wife, Debbie, and that for the majority of 2011 they were on the verge of splitting up, but she frequently still hung around the Hope. He told me, towards the end, he was intending to tell her she can’t do this any longer, but at the same time, her presence allowed him to see his children.
On the 21st, he told me he was staying with a friend called Mikey in Oldham, and that the account with the bulk of our money in is a Barclays account and this has £71,000 in it.
We exchanged texts where I told him the following: that, despite Motor Corner telling me that they would give me six months’ warranty and would also pay for my MOT if it was due within 3 months of purchase, I phoned them on Oct 19th to try and book it in because it was due by the 26th (and I was unable to deal with that the following week). A man called Jack, who we met at the time of the part-exchange, gave me the same crap that Mark told me he gave him earlier (as Jack had Mark’s number at the time but not mine), that when we took the Mazda RX8 for him to look at on Sunday Sept 25th for a valuation, he claimed he saw the tax disc in the window and that we had removed it by the time it was sold to them on the 26th. In actual fact, we had removed it prior to Jack even looking at the car because it was worth around £300 to me to get it refunded.
As such, when I spoke to Jack on Oct 19th, he gave me a load of “Oh, I’ll have to speak to my business partner” moaning, and “Ring me back in the morning and we’ll arrange something.” Well, I didn’t have time to deal with them due to other circumstances in my life at the time and had to book it in for an MOT at another garage I used to use, which cost me around £60 all-in, including any work it needed doing.
The texts between Mark and I that afternoon were as follows:
Mark texted me: “Going to go to see jack later also at the car place. Sort out your mot. Did you get am invoice from (the garage I did use)?”
I replied: “Yep, I’ve got that. Will put it in my bag.”
He claimed on this same day he was signing on at the Jobcentre for the first time and texted: “Need to sort out signing on 🙁 its a fucking nightmare”. I told him about my experience signing on and asked “Did u check ur bank beforehand?”.
He replied: “Gestapo. Little fucking hitlers. Did not get chance. As soon as I fin here I will do it. This is taking forever.>:O”
Shortly after, I asked him: “Any joy?”
Mark: “Will phone u in 5 just checking my bank”
Me (15 mins later) “R u free?”
Mark: “Payments going through I am waiting for conformation”
Me: “Is (I’d) prefer to see someone in person as they were meant to do this yesterday. Also, if they need me to sign something, todays my best day to do it.”
Mark: “Will organise that just shortly want to make sure this goes through 1st. This is from yesterday.”
Me: “How long does this bit take to go thru and where did the 2*7500 figure come from?”
Mark: “I just asked them for funds. We both need cash and did not want to wait ti sit and work out was needed. Trying to get them to pull it out of the payment queue so it goes in now.”
Me: “How receptive are they to doing that?”
Mark: “To fair they are good. And trying their best which makes a change”
Me: “How long will it take them to get this bit done?”
Mark: “They on it now”
Me: “How long before we can check if its gone in?”
Mark: “Will txt u as soon as they tell me”
Me: “Ok, but did they give u a rough timeframe? You can understand my anxiety about all this.”
Mark: “Mine too! I have £40 to my name till this gets sorted. No time frame just doing it. I did keep asking questions but although they never said it I think while they talking to me it stops em doing stuff”
Mark: “Sent email to safe comp too with safe number to get a key.”
Me: “Have u been able to get the outstanding post from the pub from Tim?”
Mark: “He bringing it on sunday”
Me: “Do we know if they key is amongst it?”
Mark: “No idea.”
Mark: “Bu least have another plan if it not”
Me: “The email to the safe company presumably. Do u know how long that takes to get a key?”
Mark: “No idea awaiting reply”
Me: “Any word from the Halifax?”
Mark: “Its done. Will show up around 4pm.”
Me: “Can we go and see someone today about signing whatever we have to about the rest?”
Mark: “Have asked them here they going to try n get app organised but say its doubtful because they usually booked up. Have asked about an evening app am sure they do them for people who work. Got to go docs shortly.”
Me: “Is the evening app in Stockport? Would we get that done before cavalcade*?” (*open mic night, that evening)
Mark: “Doubt it be today, to be honest. I asked about evening appointments with your schedule in mind. What time you finish next week?”
Me: “Monday I’ve got to be in Manchester again, finishing about 4pm. After that it’ll be in (location not disclosed on this page) finishing at 430pm. What do we do if the money doesn’t go in today at 4pm?”
Mark: “Can’t see why it won’t they did it all while I was there. Do you get a lunch hour? Bank of scotland is in spring garden in manchester”
Me: “Its because they said it would go in overnight and it didn’t so I don’t trust the banks to get it right.” (then a discussion about lunchtimes) Is it RBS with the account with all the money in?”
Me: “Did the bank give u anything in writing to confirm the transfer?”
Mark: “No Barclays.”
(20 mins later)
Me: “R u out of the docs?”
Mark: “No sat waiting”
Me: “I didn’t realise you’d gone in the bank earlier,I thought u were on the phone to them. I wanted to go in with u while they sorted this out.have they given u something in writing about it?”
Mark: “I went in after dwp. (Which was a fucking nightmare). No they didn’t they just got me to sign a form and show 2 I’d” (ID)
Me: “Can we meet up after the docs and go to motor corner?”
Mark: “Got to go school then nip kids to a mates can do it after that if u want? Or do you want me to go in. 1st and fight your corner?”
Me: “Is (I’d) prefer to meet up after u drop kids off. I’ll bring the receipt. Also trying to sort out replacement for (act name) as (they have) pulled out. :(”
Mark: “OK just out of docs will call u in a while”
Then followed a discussion about sorting out a replacement act.
Further texts between approx 3.45pm and 11pm:
Me: “Spot filled by (name). Can we meet re motor corner.”
Mark: “Going to be about an hour mate in traffic grrr.”
Me: “We need to go to the bank too. This moneys not gone in yet and they’ll be shut soon.”
Mark: “They said about 2 hrs will get back asap. Am over in moston.”
Me: “Where can we meet? It’s been over two hours.”
Mark: “I am in moston will take me about an hour to get back will text u when near stockport”
Me: “What time do the bank shut?”
Mark: “Not sure check up online mate. I will check my bank as soon as I get chance to see if it in.”
Mark: “You def got an act for tonight? Would ask Marty mclean I have to see him too”
Me: “Both Barclays and Halifax close at 5. We need to go straight there. I’ve got the act sorted for tonight.”
Me: “How far away r u? It’ll take me longer to get up thru traffic too.”
Mark: “City ground”
Me: “Where r we meeting? It’ll take me about 15miins to get to Hope in this traffic.”
Mark: “No will meet in stockport nr banks traffic is terrible though friday night rush home :(”
Me: “Outside which bank on which street?”
Mark: “Halifax mersey way”
Me: “On way. How far r u?”
Mark (4.41pm): “Money just hit my account”
Me: “I’m still en route. Are u meeting me there?”
Mark: “Yup well bank scotland same bank the”
Mark: “If make it on time still in gorton tho like a car park”
Me: “How did u check while driving?”
Mark: “Got deb to do it online”
Mark: “Not going to make it for 5 not moved for 3 mins”
Me (4.59pm): “Nothing has gone in or is pending. I’ve just been in. Can u transfer some money across for me? And we go to Barclays in the morning?”
Mark: “Will do when I get back. Got to go hosp in morning for ECG what time they close?”
Me: “4pm but I want to do it before 12 as I don’t want it to leave it till late like today. What times ur hosp appt?”
Me: “Which hospital is it?”
Mark: “Only 20 mins away”
Me: “Bank opens at 9am. Can we do that?”
Mark: “I need to leave here at 9 really 20 min to drive there and then I got to park and find the ward”
Mark: “Best will in world it be 1 before I will. Be back in stockport”
Mark: “Time you at Hope later?”
Me (5.30pm) “R u back home? It’d be easier to chat than txt.”
Mark: “No diverted to run an errand for wes and the traffic has got worse!”
Me: “I’ll be at hope for 745 to 8. Is all the equipment still there? I’ll try and do lunch earlier tomorrow so we can do it in the afternoon but I might not be back until 3pm”
Mark: “All equipment is there we need to move it in nxt week or two do you have any storage space? Will try get in to hope tonight mate”
Me: “Yes,I can store it in front room here.how long before ur back home? I want to double check uve got right bank details before doing transfer.”
Mark: “Be about an hour and 15 I am staying in Oldham. Email me the details and I will double check them or shall I send you what I have and see if they match.”
Me: “Can u txt me with what uve got? Earlier, when u mentioned dropping the kids off I didn’t realise u were going as far as Moston. I presumed it’d be somewhere near.”
Mark: “Neither did I!!! Just a bloody taxi. (But after being away from them for 2 weeks its a pleasure but don’t tell them!) Will do when I get in”
Me: “ive cancelled my lunch tomorrow as this bank thing is too important. We need to both go down to Barclays after ur hosp appt and get everything sorted out. The whole thing’s making me ill now. I could do without the comedy tonight the way I feel. Agreed about going to Barclays?”
Me: “I did say I wanted to go into the bank with u today too, so I don’t know why u didn’t give me a shout before going in after DWP.”
Mark: “Barclays tomorrow is fine. I went in after dwp to clarify why nothing had gone into account. I was not a planned thing because I thought everything would have been sorted overnight. Apparently it should have taken 48 hrs the way it was done. I was just trying to sort it out for both of us!”
Me: “I understand ur trying to sort it out but I need to be there too as this is really getting to me. I understand it wasn’t planned to go in after DWP but I needed to go in with u esp if I need to sign something too. How long till ur in oldham?”
Mark: “There was nothing to sign at halifax by you today I went in to sort the transfer hence I did not call u down. I will be there in 20/25 mins”
Mark: “I don’t like the hassle either mate and my world is so upside down as u can imagine I just want everything as easy as possible. I am a mental and physical wreck just now. Sometimes wish the heart had given in all together, but then see my kids and think everything will be OK (hopefully)”
Me: “I thought it was Barclays u went into, but either way I need to do this for my own peace of mind. I’m sure u understand. Today they’ve said it’ll go in my account and it hasn’t. Is it ur Halifax account its coming from? I thought it was Barclays it was coming from.”
Mark: “I know ur world is upside down but mine is too and I wanted to be there to hear the bank tell me exactly what is happening.”
Mark: “No it bank of sctoland which is halifax . Barclays is where the bulk is.”
Mark: “Apparently they tried to phne us both at 9 30 this morning. I got a missed call but was no number so had no idea”
Me: “I had an unknown call but it only rang out twice and was gone before I could answer. RBS close at 1pm tomorrow. If we can’t make that can we get any money out of Barclays ?”
Mark: “It not RBS it Bank of Scotland”
Me: “Where’s the branch?”
Mark: “Spring gardens manchester. That y I use halifax in stockport it same bank.”
Me: “Ok. Halifax Stockport is open till 330 tomorrow. Obviously the earlier we can get there the better.”
Mark: “Will call u as soon as I clear hospital.”
Mark: “I think after all this we need to sit and get pissed together sometime soon. Sounds like a plan to me right now”
Me: “Once we get all the money sorted, getting pissed sounds like a good idea. At the hosp are they just doing ecg or anything else?”
Mark: “Not sure just ECG and bloods I think.”
Me: “That shouldn’t take that long, not on a Saturday when they don’t have many patients.”
Mark: “They doing it as an emergency app so that’s good but very worrying”
Me: “Anyone going with u?”
Mark: “Nah go on my own (prefer it that way)”
Mark: “Prob take about 45mins I would think”
Me: “Yep it won’t take long at all, so u can be in Stockport much earlier. Let me come with u? I’m good with hospitals and I know ur stressed about the appt.”
Mark (8pm): “I be fine mate but thanks for the offer. Always been same, hate hospitals, so get in get out. (And I am not a pretty sight topless!) Be back “home” in 5″
Mark: “Will try come down to comedy but won’t promise. Am pretty shattered to be honest”
Me: “We need more audience. Got 3 inc (audience member name).”
Me: “What sortcode and account number u got for me?”
Mark: “Can’t get in pc till mikey gets back in. I can do it from phone if it new transaction but can’t access ones in my list”
Me: “When’s he back? Can u print off statements for bank of Scotland and Barclays account also. I should’ve asked for them in the past.”
Mark: “Yea but will have to go to someone elses who has printer. Should be back soon, don’t think he be far away he don’t generally go out.”
Mark: “Any more audience?”
Me (9pm): “No more audience. I have a printer. U can do it at mine.”
Mark: “Ok we can do it morn at yours”
Me: “Yep. We’ll do that.”
Me: “How much is in Barclays in total?”
Mark: “With yours and mine I have 71k in it”
Mark: “But no one else is to know that ;)”
Me: “No probs. Is mike back?”
Mark: “Not yet.”
Me: “I want to go to both Halifax and Barclays tomorrow. That ok?”
Mark: “Yea no prob providing they both open.”
Me: “Yep, Halifax till 330. Barclays till 4.”
Mark: “No prob”
Mark (10.25pm) “My battery dying on phone”
Me: “Charge it? I need u tomorrow. Need to know when ur coming from hosp.”
Mark (11pm) “Battery total fucked will charge tomorrow and call u”
Me: “Mark when r u charging it? I need to go to banks straight after ur hosp appt.”
That was the last I heard from him that evening, and I was scared it would be the last time ever.
Oct 22nd – I had arranged with him to go to Barclays and Halifax after his hospital appointment at Wythenshawe Hospital at 9.50am and he was also going to come to my house to print off statements for the Barclays account going back to July 2010 when I first put money in via his account. He had even agreed to giving me statements for all the transactions when I asked him the previous month, but nothing materialised.
I cancelled lunch with the family to do this and over time we exchanged texts (him claiming he couldn’t take a call while in the hospital), and he said his appointment about ECG and blood tests turned into blood pressure check, then angiogram and x-rays, then consultant and being admitted to a ward for a possible heart bypass and was going to speak to a surgeon. That was at 3.30pm and I heard nothing for a few hours after this and so thought I’d best let his family know as they would be worried. I phoned one of his relatives at 6.30pm to ask if she could find out if he was still in, and which ward he was in and I would drive her in.
Note that at approx 4pm, I showed the texts from him on this day to one of my relatives and even they said that they did come across as plausible. This is the problem with Mark – everything he said or did always came across in a plausible manner, even if the whole thing as described above sounds completely ridiculous.
Around 6.50pm, I got a text from him saying he’s being released and is just waiting for the effects of the angiogram dye to wear off before leaving, then he’ll charge his phone back up and call me later. I then got a text from his relative, before I had a chance to text her, saying the hospital have no record of him being admitted. I texted him saying I had to phone her as I was worried about him.
The texts on this day were as follows (and I played this on the slim chance that he was actually being truthful about this appointment):
Me (9am): “Mark, its still going to answerphone. You’ve agreed we’re going to Barclays and Halifax today, straight after ur hosp apt. I need to speak to you urgently.”
Me (10am): “Ur phone just rang out before going to answerphone so I hope its charged. Ring me ASAP!”
Mark: “Just at hosp. Charged up phone. Will call you when fin. Phone on silent”
Me: “Have they seen u at all yet?”
Mark: “Just waiting now”
Me: “Have they said if its just ecg and bloods?”
Mark: “Not said anything yet. Just going for blood pressure done will call you when out”
Me: “Did u get a good bp reading?”
Me (11am): “How’s things at the hosp? Have they nearly finished?”
Me (11.30am) “Where are things up to at the hosp? Can u give me an update.”
Me (12pm): “Mark, ur phone just went straight to voicemail. I need to hear from u ASAP.”
Mark: “I am going for an angi o gram and getting in shit for having my phne on. I had a call coming in that y It went to answer machine. I will call you when out”
Me: “Ok but Im sure u can understand that I’m anxious about everything.”
Mark: “Yea me too but right now I am shitting myself about my heart and these results.”
Me: “I’m hoping all is well in that dept. I’m thinking of u.”
Mark (1pm): “Out of angi o gram now to get x rays of the dye.:(”
Me: “Ok. Are they analysing the results while ur there or will u see ur doc later for that?”
Mark: “Think I see doc depends on how bad it looks I suppose”
Me: “They’d probly send them to ur doc later on. I think I’ve had one of these. Dye goes in thru ur inside leg?”
Mark: “Yea not nice is it”
Me: “No, although I was 16 and I had quite a fit nurse there. Difficult to stay in control…”
Me: “Have they got anything else still to do after uve had the xrays?”
Mark: “not sure but don’t think so. Will txt u when been”
Me: “Ok, r u goin in now?”
Me (30 mins later): “How r u getting on?”
Me (20 mins later): “Any news?”
Mark: “Just out x ray. Waiting for consultant now”
Me: “Any idea how long he’ll be?”
Mark: “No idea. Will let u know”
Me: “As well as for ur health, I’m also getting worried about the time as Barclays shuts at 4 and Halifax at 330.”
Me (30 mins later): “Have u seen him?”
Me (3pm): “Any news?”
Mark: “On a ward mate. They want me in overnight. I am trying to argue the toss”
Me: “That’s bad news mate. About Barclays and Halifax what do we do about those?”
Mark: “Not sure. They talking about a bypass????? Fuck that I don’t want non that shit mate I am fucking scared, really scared”
Mark (after I tried to ring him straight after): “Can’t answer phone not supp to have it on ! ;)”
Me: “I’ve not had a bypass myself. What else did the consultant say?”
Mark: “Waiting for a surgeon. Shittin it”
Me: “Just tried to ask my dad if he’s had one but when I got hold of him he says he hasn’t. Which ward r u in?”
Me (4.30pm): “What’s the latest? And which ward r u in?”
Me (5pm): “What’s the surgeon said?”
Me (5.30pm): “Hi mate, do u need me to bring u anything if they’re keeping u in?”
Mark (6.50pm): “Being released had to wait for shit to wear off before I let go battery going on phone again will charge it and call you. Feel like shit”
Me: “Glad ur being released but I was really worried and just spoke to (his relative) a few mins ago, as I didn’t know if you’d been admitted. I think shes ringing (another relative) and then calling me back. (First name) said she hadn’t got ur new number*. Just glad ur getting released. I’ll give her another ring.”
(*this was after he said on Thurs that he gave her the number)
Me (9.30pm): “Hi, mate. How r u feeling now? Hope uve rested a bit. That dye stuff sends a warm feeling thru u but can really knacker u out. I’m here for u.”
And that was it for Saturday Oct 22nd. Since that day, I haven’t been able to speak to Mark on the phone and, bar one text on the Sunday about him charging up his mobile, we have only exchanged emails, during which I have also confirmed via text and Facebook message when I have replied to him so he knows he has a reply.
He claimed on that on Oct 23rd, Tim the owner of the company who owns the Hope would be dropping off post which may contain his safe key. I know that no post was dropped off that day and that he had not been in. I felt I had no option that evening but to phone the aforementioned relative and tell her everything as I just could not cope with all this.
After I sent him a text that night, asking for all my money back, he replied on Monday Oct 24th saying, “I will get it done this week send me a total to check. I was sick yesterday very sick. I am angry that you told my (relative) my business. There was no need to do that its private. And to think I had done a bunk? If that was the case I would not have come back from Canada would I?”
I replied: “Mark, I am under so much stress and pressure now from my family that I am just desperate and quite honestly am terrified I have lost my money! You should understand and whilst I’m sorry ur unwell,u have to admit that this is dragging on unnecessarily too long.I will email u a list again later on when I am home. Thank-you.”
I sent him another text that evening to confirm I had sent him the full list by email. I had no more texts from him. The email, including the list, began:
“Here’s the full list as requested of everything from me to you. When is the money going to be in my Halifax account?
I also asked you to check the Halifax details you’ve got for me as nothing’s gone in, despite what you said would happen on Thurs/Fri last week about > £7500 going into the account.
As per my text earlier, you have to admit that all this is dragging on unnecessarily too long.”
I also asked him for his current address for a reason that wasn’t relating to these monies.
Mark’s reply (Tues 25th Oct 2.02pm):
“Why am I paying for things you have or had?
Fiat Punto? your car. (which is at the Pub)
Immigration all that is needed is the photo`s, you immigration status is of no use to me.
Insurance for basement on Garrick, if IF a refund can be sought then you will get half.
The PT cruiser? bought by you to sell on.
Tyres will either be refunded, or of not given to you to sell.
(Note that I haven’t mentioned the Fiat Punto in the list above. I bought that from him in January 2011 for £785 inc. 12 months tax, but managed to get it back – no thanks to him – and sold it on, so I haven’t included it above. I’ve referenced it only now because it comes up in the emails. Yes, for a while I was running two cars as once the Mazda started showing some expensive problems I was starting to think about selling it and wanted to get back to a ‘normal’ car and went with another Punto. Another example of Mark Pollard pretending to be a good friend came in the summer when the Punto exhaust went & made loud noises. I took it to him at the Hope and he gave me a lift home and took the Punto into his garage the next day, got it fixed and brought it back to me the next day. The exhaust issue was relatively cheap to fix.)
I replied that evening at 9.21pm:
Right, please return the funds that are owed to me less the money for the Tyres – £320.00, cars – £1999.00, Immigration – £8385.00 & Garrick insurance – £2100.00 = total funds to transfer back to me is £44790.00
Immigration – Can you let me have all paperwork to do with this please ?
Tyres – I will have those back.
The cars I will have back as I paid for them but they will need to be transferred back into my name. Can you complete your section of the V5 for these 2 vehicles so this process can happen?
Please confirm back when this amount of £44790.00 will be transferred back into my account and when I can expect to receive the tyres and Immigration paperwork. I can pick these up from you if necessary.”
He replied on Oct 26th 5.30pm:
“Will deal with this as soon as possible.
Use 118 Wellington rd north as my address as I am staying at various places with diff friends until I get a place sorted out and I will get my mail from there.”
My reply at 10.52pm that evening:
“Mark – “as soon as possible” is not good enough! I am getting more and more worried about my money and I need an exact date when this money will be in my account!!
You have no sense of urgency about any of this!
I am having to borrow money off my sister just for day to day living at the moment.
This is a completely ridiculous situation which is going on far too long. The £7,500 amount did not come through like you claimed it would on Friday, nor any time since!
And what has happened to the car insurance documents? I am on your policy and I do not have a document of my own about this. I told you I need it so I can tax my Peugeot!”
I chased this up on the Friday and Saturday evenings.
He replied on Sunday lunchtime:
“email me the reg i will have car put on database, then you can tax it online.
Have requested new certificate.
I am instructing a lawyer to deal with this, will send you his details as soon as I have them.”
“The car reg is (not disclosed here).
When can I expect it to be on the database and the new certificate to arrive?”
“will be on database tomorrow.
will let you know when cert has arrived and send you a copy”
I sent more emails between then and November 12th, once asking him (in addition to where everything was), “These are all things you have clearly agreed to, so I don’t understand why you feel the need to do any of this through a lawyer. You always commented on what good mates we are and how you “need people around you that you can trust”, so that contrasts with your actions.”
And the last email on November 12th was:
You said you were sorting this all out on w/c October 24th and claimed you’d sort it all out “as soon as possible”.
Well, it is now November 12th and absolutely NOTHING has been sorted out at all.
Have you sent off the V5 forms for the PT Cruiser and the Punto? I know they are both at the pub as I type, and I have a buyer for both so I need these immediately.
Where are the Mazda RX8 tyres?
When will I get the new insurance certificate?
Where are the immigration documents?
Where is the remainder of the money you agreed to, i.e. £44790.00?
Did you ever get a new safe key for the safe at the Hope? And why didn’t you just get a safecracker to open it up? You put £2,700 of mine in there, minus the £350 for the car insurance.
Your lack of response is just beyond a joke, now. You have no excuse for getting this sorted out right now.”
Well, we’re now about six months on since he claimed he was not doing a bunk and I still have not received any money, nor has anything progressed any further. If Mark has no intention of paying me anything back then he could at least do me the honour of confirming this. He has my contact details.
Since I last heard from him, he has removed and blocked me from his “Dougal McFarty” Facebook page, and despite me never having had a cross word with Debbie, she has removed and blocked me from her old Facebook page, but she is now known as Debbie Ginder. They clearly think I haven’t noticed as he still has me friended on his main Facebook page.
It has taken me some time to put this all together. I wanted it to be as complete as possible, although there are numerous other occasions I could list when he seemingly went out of his way to help me and pretended to be my best friend, such as in May 2010 when, knowing I wanted to buy the Mazda RX8 from Dale Car Sales in Rochdale, he went over the day before to haggle the price down for me, apparently en route to see a relative.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: After all of what has happened above, I have never spoken to Tom Stade about running a comedy club. In addition, I have not spoken to any of the comedians mentioned above about this, and I am of the belief that neither them nor Tom have any knowledge of this.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.