THE managing director of an East Lancashire bailiff firm has defended her company following a critical documentary.

Helmshore-based Rossendales featured in an ITV1 Exposure programme in which an under-cover reporter appeared to show examples of malpractice by a bailiff.

Today, MD Julie Green-Jones said: “We were stunned when we were informed about this and, following our own investigation, we had no hesitation in immediately terminating his contract.

"There are only currently guidelines for bailiffs to operate within and, while we have been calling for regulation and legislation for some years, we need action now.

“His actions certainly do not reflect Rossendales’ values and principles.

“He is totally at odds with how we work as a company.

“We are a multi-culturally owned business. We have been at the forefront of changing the way enforcement agencies work, and have been part of a government working party that has been drafting new legislation that will help regulate our industry.

“We call upon the Coalition to take legislation forward so all companies can regulate bailiffs that don’t subscribe to the values of professionalism and integrity.”

ITV said the idea was to ‘investigate the behaviour of the bailiffs instructed to chase millions of householders and car owners each year’.

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: ‘While I and Rossendales take these allegations extremely seriously and believe it is absolutely unacceptable for a rogue bailiff to act in this manner, I am reassured that Rossendales has dealt with this individual appropriately.”

Rossendales employs more than 100 staff and more than 200 bailiffs, acting on behalf of more than 100 local authorities, including several in East Lancashire.

The business was founded in Rawtenstall in 1972 and Ms Green-Jones is a former elected national president of the industry body, the Enforcement Services Association.