Author Topic: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things  (Read 118451 times)

Offline bograt

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #600 on: March 29, 2013, 04:07:19 pm »
They all have there own web sites and show secretary and members details, scroll back a bit, I researched some of them a while ago in this thread.
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Offline zomjon

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #601 on: March 29, 2013, 04:10:49 pm »
Apologies for my ignorance, but I just had to look up the meaning of LAFs - Love at First Sight!

Offline mmilner

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #602 on: March 29, 2013, 04:12:15 pm »
Apologies for my ignorance, but I just had to look up the meaning of LAFs - Love at First Sight!

Lol, nope, local access forums!
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Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #603 on: March 29, 2013, 05:36:15 pm »
Remember ..... the BCA has no influence over the policy of its regional bodies, hence the massive differences in access arrangements between groups like the DCA and CNCC. Join your local regional body (about £10) and then start lobbying.


Well, I have posted the following twice with no one offering any answers. Here it is the third time ....


I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations.

With regards to CNCC, is that "true" ?   Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?

In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/
Win scenario ?

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....

Ian
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Offline Martin Laverty

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #604 on: March 29, 2013, 06:16:03 pm »
Jopo noted (#575) that the CCW will cease to exist on the 1st April: it is to merge with the Environmental Agency for Wales and the Forestry Commission in Wales to form Natural Resources Wales. They already have a website [ http://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/ ] but it still refers out to the CCW site for Open Access matters, including LAFs [ http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/local-access-forums.aspx ] of which there are 29, plus a National Access Forum.

For the Brecon Beacons Local Access Forum (the main one for caves, at least in the south, at http://www.breconbeacons.org/the-authority/planning-access-and-row/local-access-forums/members-details  ), I note that its 13 members include deputy chair, Colin Woodley (who is a farmer, and also known as Bernie, the Chairman of the Cambrian Caving Council), and David Thomas (who "was an experienced rock climber and caver familiar with caves in the Upper Swansea and Neath Valleys" prior to accident in late 80's).

With regard to mikem's point (#574) about some caves having had their entrances dug out, I fail to see how that makes them any less natural. Also, it is not unknown for entrances to unblock themselves (cf. Ogof Dewi Sant, or the better-known case of Notts Pot)... As regard the diggers, the situation may be more equivocal: are they to be protected (cf. badgers) or fair game (cf. rabbits)? The holes shouldn't be filled in anyway (cf. CRoW and bat protection laws).

Offline Rhys

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #605 on: March 29, 2013, 06:49:56 pm »
Moderators:
I've been particularly enjoying the paragraph in the BCA document which includes:

Think about it, free access to caves and potholes would be quite
inoperable (and dangerous) in many situations including popular sites such as Lancaster Hole,
Gaping Gill, Ogof Fynnon Ddu, Swildons Hole, etc.

If I were to start a thread on this, would it be merged or deleted? I feel that if it were merely buried in this thread, then others may not be able to enjoy the hilarity and inanity of it in the way that I was.

Global Moderator Comment Start a new specific thread if you wish - I see no reason to merge or delete it!

Offline AR

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #606 on: March 30, 2013, 11:59:12 am »
Having consulted m'learned colleague Mr. Steer's treatise....

Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline Fulk

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #607 on: March 30, 2013, 12:12:28 pm »
With regard to Rhys's point above: There is open access to the fine set of caves in West Kingsdale; it seems that no-one cares a fig if you go there.

To the best of my knowledge cavers don't cause much, if any damage (walls knocked down, gates left open, litter spread around etc.; though in  the 'old days' there was a problem with spent-carbide dumping by the road side).

Are the WK caves any more 'dangerous' than the ones cited by Rhys. If open access can work in Kingsdale, why not elsewhere?

I remember once talking with a tenant farmer who farmed some 'CNCC-access land' at some sort of social gathering, nothing to do with caving, and he didn't know that I was a caver. I asked him about access and his reply was to the effect that (and I paraphrase, as it was a long time ago) 'We don't mind cavers at all; for the most part they know where they are going, and go straight there (though occasionally they get lost). Then they're out of harm's way for the next few hours, and when they emerge, all they want to do is make a bee-line for the pub or the chippy. It's walkers who think they have the right to go anywhere and do what they want who cause us far more problems.'

Well, that was several years ago, and things may have changed . . . but if the guy who lives there and makes a living from the land takes that attitude, it makes me wonder why there are so many problems.

Offline Jenny P

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #608 on: March 30, 2013, 12:40:35 pm »
The answer is that he's a tenant farmer and the access depends on the landowner's say-so and not his.

We have had a similar situation in the Peak in the past but in that case it was the farmer who was unhappy and refused all access; DCA approached the Estate which owned the land and they were persuaded to allow access under certain conditions.  DCA had to agree to fence off the land around the entrance and put in a stile, to advertise the specific route across the private land to the entrance and also to put a lid over the hole in the ground - which is, as usual, kept fastened by a captive bolt requiring a 'Derbyshire key'.  We also had to use a particular patch of land nearby for parking off the road and changing and we have to maintain this patch and its gate.  No permits or keys required in this case and you don't have to call for permission or bother the farmer at all so it's worked well ever since.

It does appear that the landowner of the Leck/Casterton area insists on a permit system and created a great deal of fuss recently over cavers pirating the caves, having caught people on the land and also read accounts on club websites which recorded 'unauthorised' visits.  If this is actually CRoW land it would suggest that the estate concerned have taken legal advice and been advised that caving is not a permitted activity under the Act. 

It would probably cost quite a bit in legal fees if this were to be challenged in court, so where would the funding for this come from - BCA, CNCC?  However, it sounds as if many of the people wishing it to be challenged also refuse to belong to BCA or to a BCA member club on the grounds that it does nothing for them.  So why should BCA fund such a challenge and where would it get the funds to do so?

I'm not suggesting that there should never be a challenge - I'm just trying to be realistic about the chances of finding the funds to do so and being successful if you did.

Online danthecavingman

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #609 on: March 30, 2013, 12:50:25 pm »
I realise that some of this, I have posted previously, however, here are some interesting bits regarding the CRoW Act on the DEFRA pages. This is from a Government Department, so fairly high level stuff:

It would seem that there has been considerable thought gone into what is restricted on CRoW land:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/countryside/crow/restrict.htm

General restrictions

The right of access introduced by the CROW Act is for open air recreation on foot. Activities like bird watching, picnicking, climbing and running are included under the new right. Other activities, however, are covered by restrictions excluding them from the right of access. Unless the landowner or occupier gives their permission for these activities to be carried out, or they are included in the terms of other rights of access apart from the CROW Act, then anyone engaging in any of these activities on CROW access land will be trespassing.

The restrictions are:
•Riding a horse or bicycle
•Driving a vehicle (unless it is an invalid carriage)
•Taking an animal, other than a dog onto the land
•Camping
•Organised games
•Hang-gliding or paragliding
•Using a metal detector
•Commercially-run activities on the land
•Swimming in, or using boats or sail boards on, non-tidal rivers, lakes and so on
•Taking anything away from the land, like stones, fallen wood or plants
•Lighting, causing or risking a fire
•Damaging hedges, fences, walls, crops or anything else on the land
•Leaving gates open, that are not propped or fastened open
•Leaving litter
•Intentionally disturbing livestock, wildlife or habitats
•Posting any notices
•Committing any criminal offence

Please note - Caving is not listed as a restricted activity. It clearly states "The restrictions are" it does not say "The restrictions include"

I would direct you to the link below:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/crow/general-restrict.pdf

Please take time to consider the following from that document:

"Section 2:
2. The foreword to the 1998 consultation document “Access to Open
Countryside in England and Wales” issued jointly by the Department of the
Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Welsh Office, set out some
broad principles underlying the Government’s desire to secure more and better
access to open countryside. In particular it stated:
• We are firmly committed to achieving our objective of securing greater
access to open countryside. This will benefit a wide range of people —
from experienced fell walkers to those who simply wish to get out into the
open air near to where they live. They will be able to improve their health;
to experience the wonders of wildlife and the beauty of fine landscapes; to
learn about countryside activities; and to refresh their spirits.
• We are determined that those who enjoy extended access should be
responsible: the countryside and people’s property and livelihoods must
continue to be respected and properly protected.
We believe that these broad principles should be kept in mind in construing the
Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 which resulted from these proposals.


Section 3:
3. This note is provided for guidance only and does not provide an authoritative
interpretation of the legislation, which is a matter for the courts
who would take
into account all the facts relevant to an individual case. However, once we have
experience of how the legislation is operating in practice we will, if appropriate,
make any necessary amendments.

Section 4:
4. The right of access is a right for the purposes of open-air recreation. People
are not entitled to use the right to carry out activities which do not constitute
open-air recreation. Examples of open-air recreation are walking, sightseeing,
bird-watching, climbing and running. Examples of activities which we consider
are not forms of open–air recreation are political rallies, filming activities and
professional dog walking. The right of access cannot in our view be relied on to
undertake such activities, so consideration of the general restrictions in Schedule
2 is not relevant."

I would imagine that Caving has more in common, in the spirit of the Act, with walking, climbing and running. The restrictions on what might be 'mis-intepreted' as open-air recreation, e.g. political rallies, filming activities and professional dog walking - are clearly a million miles from caving.

Also, please note the following:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/crow/landmanagers-guide.pdf

"What does removing or relaxing a general restriction do?
5. The effect of removing or relaxing a general restriction is to ensure that a person engaging in an activity which would not otherwise be allowed under the right of access is not regarded as a trespasser.
6. It is not necessary for a restriction to be removed or relaxed for the lawful activities that it covers to be carried out. You may, for instance, prefer to permit members of the public to engage in recreational activities on your land on an informal basis, without extending the right of access to include them (i.e. by removing one or more or the general restrictions).
7. However, because section 13 of the Act reduces an occupier’s liability towards members of the public exercising the right of access to the lower level usually owed to trespassers, removing or relaxing a general restriction means that an occupier’s liability towards a person who is engaged in an activity allowed by the removal or relaxation will also be similarly reduced."

So if it went to Court and Caving was ruled to be a restricted activity, it would far from mean the end of Caving on CRoW land. We could simply accept that Caving is restricted and requires the Land Owner's permission, as is supposed currently; the permit systems could remain and caving would continue as it does now.
More interestingly, if Caving were to be listed as a restricted activity, under the scope of the Act, the Landowner could apply to have the restrictions for that activity (Caving) removed or relaxed, thus reducing the liabilities associated with Caving, this would be a very good get around for the whole insurance / permits situation.

A bit more food for thought?

Dan.
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Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #610 on: March 30, 2013, 02:19:56 pm »
The answer is that he's a tenant farmer and the access depends on the landowner's say-so and not his.

We have had a similar situation in the Peak in the past but in that case it was the farmer who was unhappy and refused all access; DCA approached the Estate which owned the land and they were persuaded to allow access under certain conditions.  DCA had to agree to fence off the land around the entrance and put in a stile, to advertise the specific route across the private land to the entrance and also to put a lid over the hole in the ground - which is, as usual, kept fastened by a captive bolt requiring a 'Derbyshire key'.  We also had to use a particular patch of land nearby for parking off the road and changing and we have to maintain this patch and its gate.  No permits or keys required in this case and you don't have to call for permission or bother the farmer at all so it's worked well ever since.

DCA do seem to have a very proactive and modern view on access. Glad I live in Sheffield.

Quote
If this is actually CRoW land it would suggest that the estate concerned have taken legal advice and been advised that caving is not a permitted activity under the Act.

To be fair Jenny unless you know different it suggests nothing. It'd be like me suggesting CNCC had the word with the estate... which of course I'm not.

Quote
It would probably cost quite a bit in legal fees if this were to be challenged in court, so where would the funding for this come from - BCA, CNCC?  However, it sounds as if many of the people wishing it to be challenged also refuse to belong to BCA or to a BCA member club on the grounds that it does nothing for them.  So why should BCA fund such a challenge and where would it get the funds to do so?

Hands up who is in BCA (CIM or DIM) and unhappy with CRoW access. My hand is in the air. Again with respect Jenny, it doesn't sound like anything. The people I know who are unhappy are all club members.

Quote
I'm not suggesting that there should never be a challenge - I'm just trying to be realistic about the chances of finding the funds to do so and being successful if you did.

Fair point, but the first case scenario would be LAF, which wouldn't cost ( :shrug:).
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Offline Stuart Anderson

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #611 on: March 30, 2013, 02:24:13 pm »
A bit more food for thought?

Dan.

Good points Dan.

Interesting that at least two of the restricted activities (organised activity and camping) are pretty ubiquitous on CRoW land. Yet the landowners are either unaware of it (really?) or actually don't give two hoots and are a lot more forgiving and open to allowing things to happen on their land as long as it doesn't cause damage etc.
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #612 on: March 30, 2013, 09:27:14 pm »
However, it sounds as if many of the people wishing it to be challenged also refuse to belong to BCA or to a BCA member club on the grounds that it does nothing for them.  So why should BCA fund such a challenge and where would it get the funds to do so?

I am a member of a club, and I presume by extension, the BCA.

Hands up who is in BCA (CIM or DIM) and unhappy with CRoW access. My hand is in the air. Again with respect Jenny, it doesn't sound like anything. The people I know who are unhappy are all club members.

My hand is firmly in the air, but I think everyone gathered that already.
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Offline bograt

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #613 on: March 30, 2013, 09:53:18 pm »
ORDER, ORDER, I would like to bring to this house the facts that are in debate, based upon the situation as it now stands and the situation which we hope to acheive; viz;

1. The CRoW act was set up to allow open air recreation..Fact!
2. Is caving an open air recreation?
3. Has cave access ever been officially challenged on CRoW land by a caver, if so, by whome?
4. What was the result?
5. References to other activities, allowable or not, will not proceed our case, caving is a specialist pasttime, and should be considered as such.
6. There is an established route for querying CRoW access procedures via LAF, has anyone tried this on behalf of cavers?
7. If not, Where does the responsibily lie ?
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Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #614 on: March 30, 2013, 10:00:25 pm »
I think Dan was suggesting that it was incumbant on the landowner to demonstrate that he could prohibit access to cavers on CRoW land and not vice-versa. Without reading back, I am pretty sure Dan gave some examples ....

Ian
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Offline bograt

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #615 on: March 30, 2013, 10:13:21 pm »
I think Dan was suggesting that it was incumbant on the landowner to demonstrate that he could prohibit access to cavers on CRoW land and not vice-versa. Without reading back, I am pretty sure Dan gave some examples ....

Ian

Read the act.
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Offline Les W

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #616 on: March 30, 2013, 11:06:12 pm »
I am a member of a club, and I presume by extension, the BCA.

Not by extension.
If you have a green card (Club Individual Member) then you are an individual member of BCA. Your membership services are somewhat restricted (which is why it is a cheaper membership) but include: Insurance, the right to attend the AGM and vote on any motions so raised there and the right to raise such motions in accordance with the constitution.

The only real differences between CIM and DIM membership is that as a CIM you don't get the publications and you pay less money. All the other rights and privileges of membership are yours...
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Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #617 on: March 30, 2013, 11:10:22 pm »
I think Dan was suggesting that it was incumbant on the landowner to demonstrate that he could prohibit access to cavers on CRoW land and not vice-versa. Without reading back, I am pretty sure Dan gave some examples ....

Ian

Read the act.

I have read it. I have seen the arguments presented on both sides. I have seen the examples given.

I accept the "act" is silent (does not say caving is or is not covered).

I understand the reference to "open air".

I see clearly the viewpoint that is held by some that CRoW does not cover caving and I see why that viewpoint is held.

I see that that (hate double words) may well be correct (not included because it is not open air)

I would like to believe that Dan is right and the position with the climbers appears to support it. His scenario was also very logical.

That doesn't mean Dan is right - but I think it is "fair enough" that I hope he is ....

Ian
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Offline bograt

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #618 on: March 30, 2013, 11:29:33 pm »
OK Jackal------etc, Have you taken your concerns to; 1. Regional Body?   2, LAF? there's no point in arguing unless you have a case to argue against. :)
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Offline NigR

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #619 on: March 30, 2013, 11:30:16 pm »
3. Has cave access ever been officially challenged on CRoW land by a caver, if so, by whome?
4. What was the result?

Hi Bograt,

Just want to check that I correctly understand your question before I answer it.

Do you mean has a caver ever attempted to enter a cave on CRoW land without permission whilst in the presence of the landowner and what happened as a result?

Thanks.

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #620 on: March 30, 2013, 11:41:42 pm »
I am a member of a club, and I presume by extension, the BCA.

Not by extension.
If you have a green card (Club Individual Member) then you are an individual member of BCA. Your membership services are somewhat restricted (which is why it is a cheaper membership) but include: Insurance, the right to attend the AGM and vote on any motions so raised there and the right to raise such motions in accordance with the constitution.

The only real differences between CIM and DIM membership is that as a CIM you don't get the publications and you pay less money. All the other rights and privileges of membership are yours...

Cheers Les.
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Offline bograt

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #621 on: March 30, 2013, 11:44:30 pm »
NigR, that is not what I specifically had in mind but if you have had experience of this it could give some more meat to the debate.
 What I really had in mind when I posted was has any caver ever claimed to have a "right to roam (underground)" under the act, if so to whome --etc.
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Offline kay

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #622 on: March 31, 2013, 12:32:05 am »

The only real differences between CIM and DIM membership is that as a CIM you don't get the publications and you pay less money.

And you have access to caves that you don't have access to as a DIM.

Offline bograt

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #623 on: March 31, 2013, 12:44:38 am »
Kay, please give an example to pass on to the LAF.
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Offline NigR

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Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #624 on: March 31, 2013, 12:50:53 am »
3. Has cave access ever been officially challenged on CRoW land by a caver, if so, by whome?
4. What was the result?

Hi Bograt,

Just want to check that I correctly understand your question before I answer it.

Do you mean has a caver ever attempted to enter a cave on CRoW land without permission whilst in the presence of the landowner and what happened as a result?

Thanks.

NigR, that is not what I specifically had in mind but if you have had experience of this it could give
some more meat to the debate.
What I really had in mind when I posted was has any caver ever claimed to have a "right to roam (underground)" under the act, if so to whome --etc.

OK, this should answer most of what you had in mind:

There is a cave on CRoW land where the landowners will not allow access. They have been advised not to do so by the Cave Management Group for the area. Local cavers have continued to exert their "right to roam (underground)" despite this prohibition. On four different occasions cavers have been challenged by the landowners after exiting the cave, each time on the public highway whilst returning to their vehicles. The landowners made it patently clear that, in their opinion, the CRoW Act does not apply to caves. They also quoted directly from the BCA/Judson Statement on Access to help back up their arguments. There could have been other similar instances but these are the only ones of which I am aware. I was not actually present in person at any of the incidents I have described.

Is this the sort of thing you were after?