'Landlords think they're above the law, but they're not' - that was the message from a judge as he sentenced two men for the harassment and illegal eviction of Sheffield tenants.
Recorder Martin Simpson sentenced Mark Cashin to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and Rory Taylor to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, for a number of property offences.
During the hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday, the court heard how Cashin and Taylor's conduct resulted in the harassment and subsequent illegal eviction of a man living in a property in Woodstock Road, Netheredge in January 2016.
Robert Sandford, prosecuting, told the court that Cashin began harassing the tenant when he told him he may have to pay his rent on a different date due to starting a new job.
Mr Sandford said that despite the man not being in rent arrears at that time, Cashin of Haddon Road, Bakewell began threatening the man with eviction through a series of text messages.
After calling the tenant to tell him he was unhappy that he had 'caused him trouble' with the local authority, Cashin visited the man and verbally abused him before telling him was going to send a man called Jamie Ross round to 'deal with him'.
The court heard how Ross and Taylor, of Far Lane, East Dene arrived at the tenant's home while he was out on February 3, 2016 and kicked his door down.
The man arrived home to find all of his possessions bagged up in the hallway, and he was presented with what Recorder Simpson described as a 'Mickey Mouse' eviction agreement drafted by Cashin.
The tenant called out South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield City Council to the property, following the terrifying incident.
Cashin also admitted to harassing a female tenant living in Sheldon Road, Netheredge in September 2015 after she asked him to replace a broken washing machine at the house in multiple occupation (HMO) she was living in.
The court was told how Cashin, who has previously been convicted of 54 property offences, threatened to evict the woman and 'throw her clothes out on the street' when she said she would deduct the cost of using a launderette from her rent payments.
Taylor was found guilty of harassment and illegal eviction of a private rented tenant in February following a trial, while Cashin admitted to two counts of harassing a tenant/occupier last year.
Jamie Ross, no fixed abode, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and 120 hours of community for harassment of tenants during a hearing at Sheffield Magistrates' Court in September 2016 when he admitted to the offence.
Taylor, defending himself, did not submit any mitigation to the court.
Representing Cashin, Daniel Brayley said Cashin had worked professionally within the property sector for 25 years without any problems and believed he was genuinely acting within the law when he committed the offences.
Sentencing Cashin, Recorder Simpson said he had initially intended to send Cashin, who now works to immediate custody but had just been persuaded he could suspend his prison sentence.
He said: "You, and landlords like you, think they're above the law but they're not, and should take advice before trying to use the law against vulnerable tenants, and respect that they are too protected by the law."
***PLEASE NOTE: Cashin has never been associated with Hallam Hills, as was previously incorrectly reported.
The Sheffield Star would like to apologise for any embarrassment caused.***