The appellant was a police officer who was investigating a suspected stolen trailer that had been parked in the service yard of a supermarket in the centre of Glastonbury. He entered the respondent’s property which adjoined the service area, in order, eventually, to take up a position overlooking the service yard. In doing so he fell into an uncovered inspection pit for coaches kept on the site, and suffered serious knee injuries as a result of which he was unable to continue working as a police officer. He brought an action for damages against the respondent.

The claim was brought under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 in the event that it was decided that the appellant was a visitor and under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 in the event that it was decided he was a trespasser. The judge at first instance held that the police officer was trespasser and therefore the provisions of the 1984 Act applied.

The crucial issue was whether the respondent knew or believed that the trespasser might come within the vicinity of the danger, in other words the uncovered pit. The judge held that the respondent did not know or could not have reasonably known that a trespasser would enter his premises and come into the vicinity of the uncovered pit. The appellant’s claim for damages was therefore dismissed.

The appellant appealed. He argued that the site was easy to access, the coaches represented valuable property which could have been an attraction (an “allurement”) to thieves and the risk of significant injury presented by the uncovered pit was one which could have been guarded against either by ensuring that a coach was parked fully over the pit or that the pit was provided with some form of simple cover.