Sunday, December 3, 2023

“I’m Being Blackmailed” Claims Thurrock Tory Councillor

A VETERAN Tory councillor believes he is the victim of an “attempted blackmail plot” after he was secretly filmed discussing planning permission for an unauthorised lorry park in West Thurrock.

Aveley councillor John Cowell said he has contacted Essex Police, Thurrock Council and Leader of the Conservative Group, Garry Hague after being handed the DVD of the recording in “mysterious circumstances”.

The full version of the DVD has been professionally made with introductory graphics, subtitles and music.

The two minute segment apparently sees Cllr Cowell at his place of work, discussing the controversial issue of the unauthorised lorry park in West Thurrock run by Titan Truck Park Limited.

Cllr Cowell took YourThurrock through the chain of events.

He said: “A man dressed in black came to my house and handed me a DVD. He told me to stay away from planning matters.

“Someone later a man rang me from public telephone boxes in Aveley and Romford and repeated the threat.

“It was just before the Annual Council Meeting in May. On that night, I informed Legal (Democratic Services at Thurrock Council) and my leader (Tory Group leader Garry Hague) as well as Essex Police.”

Cllr Cowell explained some of the comments he made on the film. YourThurrock asked him what he meant by “We are attempting to by-pass planning permission.”

He said: “That has been taken out of context. I was on the HGV Committee and we were trying to solve the problem.

“There are members of Conservative, Labour and an Independent on the committee. Ask them as well”.

Cllr Cowell maintains that he did not know the identity of the other men in the office where he was being filmed.

He said: “Everyone knows me in Aveley. People come in to the shop and chat. I don’t know who they are”

Conservative Group leader Cllr Garry Hague has confirmed that the incident was reported to him.

He said: “An incident was reported by Cllr Cowell on the evening of the Council’s AGM. This was immediately reported to the Interim Chief Executive and Head of Legal and a written statement was provided to them for further investigation and for reporting to the appropriate authorities.”

Thurrock Council said: “Thurrock Council will not comment on issues relating to individuals, which are private.”

Essex Police have searched their database but have, at this point, no complaint logged in the name of Councillor Cowell relating to this matter.

A copy of the DVD has been handed to Essex Police.

Warning: There is explicit language on the video.


  1. Well, Well, Well – this would be farcical if it weren’t so serious. Mr Cowell – (I can’t even write the word councillor) talks to strangers who go into his shop about by-passing planning like he’s a member of the mafia. He then goes on to state that he has reported it – and yet that is unsubstantiated by the police. I have no idea of the process – but would imagine that the police must have a failsafe recording system – given that they are an investigative body.

    Has anyone found out what he was being blackmailed about? According to the above (I still can’t call him councillor) it was all done to stop him attending one council meeting. Talk about delusions of grandeur or is he doing a good impression of Arthur Daley.

    Let us now be serious- the facts are

    1. The illegal lorry park he talks about – remains to this day – ILLEGAL
    2. Mr Cowell is a member of Thurrock Conservatives, and when you check out the website – their official address is Titan Works which is situated on the company’s land that owns ……..the illegal lorry park

    Joke over –this absolutely stinks. If the police haven’t been called in then they should be – Mr Cowell MUST answer the perfectly straightforward question re his comments about bypassing planning. The comment about it being out of context is a stupid deflection that doesn’t wash. This man stands in his shop, blatantly discussing council business to people he admits not knowing – which at the very least brings his office into disrepute – and then tries to turn the issue around 360 degrees and whitewash the whole thing by saying he is being blackmailed and yet the police have no record. Clearly this is dishonest whichever way you look at – he either made a false statement that indicated he and others are corrupt or he is. I know what I believe.. Just to round it off – does anyone know of a blackmailer that loves publicity and sends the material they are using to blackmail to the press? No, me either. I am appalled and disgusted that this man thinks the people of Thurrock are as stupid as him. I think I need to stop there – the more I write the more incensed I become. I now call for a formal and more importantly an INDEPENDENT investigation and for his immediate suspension.


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