Monday, October 29, 2012

My complaint to Virgin Media

I am posting this here along with the complaint address for the Virgin Media complaints department in case anybody else is looking for it. This letter was posted today and speaks for itself. I will update this page with any progress as it occurs. Some personal details removed.

Anyone who knows my background in customer service will know why this sort of thing annoys me so much. This has gone beyond the point where an apology will suffice.

Virgin Media
PO Box 333
Matrix Court

30th October 2012

I have been telephoned by somebody called xxxxxxx from a company called Moorcroft Debt Recovery who are looking for settlement of a debt to your company. I had previously had a call about this by a company called CSL. I had explained the situation to them and they had referred it back to Virgin Media. I have since heard nothing from them.

I have never received any letters from you about this and you have not provided me with any services so I am at a loss to understand why you are now pursuing me through a debt collection agency.

Here are the issues I need you to address:

1. Before I can consider settling this debt I need you to provide me with the legal basis for this charge. In other words, you are going to need to provide me with evidence of a contract and technical evidence you actually provided a telephone and ADSL service on the circuit number that serves my flat at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

2. I require you to pay me a sum as compensation for all the calls I made to your 0845 number on my mobile phone while trying to get the service to work in July. The sum is just under £30, but since then I have spent a lot of time dealing with Moorcroft and generally worrying about it, and you need to reflect this in any offer of compensation you make to me. This payment to be made by cheque or BACS, not in vouchers.

3. I require an undertaking that you will not make any report to any credit reference agency which is detrimental to my credit rating.

The background to this case is that when I lived at my old address - xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -  I used your cable service (account number: xxxxxxxx). In June 2012 I ordered a move of service from you to my new flat, but you were unable to do this without a change to your “national” service as there was no cable service in my area. I agreed to this and it was all arranged. However, on moving to my new flat the service did not work even though you had contacted me to say it was. I called you on numerous occasions, running up a bill of nearly £30 on my mobile phone doing so, but got nowhere. You were even unable to locate my new account in your system.

It is clear that it had not been provisioned correctly at all:

  • The phone socket in my flat continued to be live on the previous owners number. 
  • I had been promised a modem from you. which never arrived, in spite of Yodel showing it as having been signed for (it wasn’t).
  • You have not been able to spell my name correctly.
  • At the time the move was ordered your operator had significant problems entering my new address, because your database could not accept my address format (they had to try and enter it manually). According to Moorcroft you have my address listed as “xxxxxxxxxxx”, which is incorrect.

In the end I had to contact BT and they were able to get me connected, but I was left without a phone line for six weeks - something which was entirely your fault. To be pursued by you now in this aggressive manner via a third party without so much as a letter is not the way to treat a long standing former customer who left his previous account in a positive cash balance.

This whole issue has been caused by a problem with your provisioning system. I did my best to resolve it and had a number of lengthy (and expensive) phone calls to you, followed by the inconvenience of being left without a phone line or Internet access for six weeks.

I await your response.

Yours etc.

Update 30th October 2012
Found an interesting web site here with a reader comment indicating that Virgin Media or their agents are leaving default notices on people's credit records even after the bill has been paid:

I wrote to customer complaints. They cut the bill in half and apologised. So I paid, wanting never to talk to them again.
However, what they wouldn't do was remove the default from my credit report. I have since spent days on the phone, written to everyone imaginable and still they refuse.
This is beyond incompetence and into malice. Completely vindictive and unnecessary persecution of an everyday consumer.
My credit record was impeccable. Now I can't even get a small loan. All because of Virgin Media. For a service I could never receive and for a bill that I have actually paid. Astounding.
RMC - 30-06-2012

Judging by all the stories documented there it looks possible that I might have to take preemptive legal action. Being no stranger to litigation this does not frighten me, but it should not be necessary when I am dealing with such a large customer facing organisation. We will see.

Update 6th November
I received a holding letter from Virgin Media. However, it was addressed to my old address not my new address - which was the address I sent the letter from. Fortunately I have a redirection from the old address.

I have also received a letter from Moorcroft Debt Management saying they have suspended their activity because I am in dispute with Virgin Media.

Update 12th November
Well, I got a very nice phone call from Virgin Media this afternoon stating that they can find no record of an account and con firming that they have never provided me with any services at my current address and they can find no trace of ever having done so. They will be writing to me confirming this and will tell Moorcroft to stop pusuing me.

However.... A few hours later I got home to find a letter from Moorcroft on my doormat which included this:

Further to your recent communication in respect of the above account, we write to confirm we have been in contact with Virgin Media who have advised us that the services were successfully installed at the property and that there is call usage on the bill which conforms this.

Of course, they have not forwarded me any of that evidence. I assume they can't as Virgin Media say they never installed the service. So who can Moorcroft provide me with copies of their correspondence with Virgin Media and can they provide records of these calls? I suspect not.

So I am back to square one.

I am now going to make clear to Moorcroft Debt Recovery that I will not be paying them anything without a court order and they should not bother contacting me again until they have obtained one.

Second update 12th November
I decided to call Moorcroft and make it clear I would not be paying them anything.

Here is an edited recording of the call. I have clipped out the name of the person I was speaking to, and the section where I had to prove my identity and a lot of gaps where he was typing up notes.

The section from 2 minutes onwards is very interesting. Their representative claimed that Moorcroft were not asking me for any money, that it was Virgin Media asking for money, until I pressed him very hard on this issue.

Or download the recording here.

I will be continuing to pursue my request for compensation from Virgin Media and will let readers know how I get on.

Update 16th November

I have now written a further letter to Virgin Media:

I refer to your letter of 1st November which was sent to my previous address rather than the address I had written from, and which is stated at the bottom of this letter.
I received a telephone call from you on Monday 12th November stating that you could find no record of me owing you anything and that you would attempt to recall the debt from Moorcroft. I returned home on Monday night to find a letter from Moorcroft stating that they had contacted you and you had confirmed that calls had been made on a line assigned to me and that I was therefore liable. This contradicts what you said to me.
In order to satisfactorily deal with this complaint I require you to:
1. Write to me stating I owe you nothing, send a copy of the letter to Moorcroft and recall the debt from them.
2. Pay me a sum in compensation for all the calls, time and inconvenience I have suffered in this issue since July, and which you will find detailed in my previous letter.
3. Ensure that no default is registered against me with any credit reference agency in relation to this.
Please reply within 14 days or I shall be instructing my solicitors.

It is sad that an organisation the size of Virgin Media does not have the ability to resolve something like this, but apparently they don't.

Update 22nd November
I have received two letters today:

  • One from Moorcroft stating they have contacted Virgin Media, who have (once again) confirmed that I owe the money.
  • One from Virgin media confirming I owe them nothing and that they have recalled the debt from Moorcroft.

Are Moorcroft lying to try and get me to pay them money? Remember, they have already admitted that the money was to be aid to their account not Virgin Media. I don't know, but I have reasonable doubts that they have ever spoken to Virgin Media about this account.

The main issue now is that Virgin have failed to compensate me for my time and phone calls dealing with their error since July. They have also not given me an undertaking that they will not register a default against me at a credit reference agency. This is what I am really concerned about because there are reports online of them doing this to other customers who were not in debt to them.

My only option now seems to be legal action.

Update 23rd November
It appears that Virgin Media breached the data protection act twice by passing my personal details to Moorcroft.

I have written to Virgin today repeating my previous requests and detailing the two breaches of the DPA:

I note your letter of 16th November, but am not satisfied. 
I had asked you to: 
  1. Write to me stating I owe you nothing, send a copy of the letter to Moorcroft and recall the debt from them. 
  2. Pay me a sum in compensation for all the calls, time and inconvenience I have suffered in this issue since July, and which you will find detailed in my previous letter.
  3. Ensure that no default is registered against me with any credit reference agency in relation to this. 
Although you have addressed point (1), you have not given me (3) an undertaking that you will not register a default against me at a credit reference agency.  
You have also not dealt with (2) my reasonable request for compensation to cover my  out of pocket expenses incurred through:
  • Calling your 0845 number on my mobile phone during the period when you had left me without a phone line - due to your incompetence.
  • Dealing with increasingly aggressive overtures from Moorcroft - including their claim on 19th November that you have confirmed that I do owe you money.
  • My inconvenience for being left without a phone line for six weeks - which was your fault.
In addition to this there is the risk to my reputation and credit rating as well as the stress involved in dealing with this. 
Fortunately I am well educated, articulate and able to robustly defend myself against Moorcroft. An elderly or infirm person would probably cave in and pay them. In fact they wrote to me two days after your last letter stating that you had confirmed the debt to them and they will continue to pursue me. I had paid them they would presumably not have passed the money to you. They also send repeated letters to me and continue to call me.  
I should also point out that you breached the terms of the Data Protection Act by passing my details to Moorcroft. Specifically that you did not satisfy the conditions for processing my personal data by not having a “legitimate interest”. If there had been a real debt and you had failed to recover it from me by normal means this would have constituted a legitimate interest. As there was no debt and you had not asked me for the money before passing it to Moorcroft you did not have this and therefore breached the act.  
You also required my consent in order to pass my personal data to Moorcroft. From the Office of the Information Commissioner: 
Consent is not defined in the Data Protection Act. However, the European Data Protection Directive (to which the Act gives effect) defines an individual’s consent as:
“…any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes by which the data subject signifies his agreement to personal data relating to him being processed”.
The fact that an individual must “signify” their agreement means that there must be some active communication between the parties.  
As you had not written to me about the alleged debt no such communication had taken place and this is a second breach of the Act. 
I am sorry if this letter appears heavy handed, but I do not appreciate being hounded by debt collectors and I would prefer to be treated by you as a previously valued customer. 
I am surprised that a company like Virgin Media are unable to deal with a complaint  like this in a satisfactory manner.  
I await your response - in writing - on the two issues you have failed to deal with.

We will see what happens next.

Update 4th December
Its 11 days later and I have received a holding letter from Virgin Media as if it was a fresh complaint I had sent in. I have submitted my complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act. Their advice leaflet can be downloaded here (PDF file) and the form can be downloaded here.

Update 6th December
A further letter has arrived from Moorcroft. Play close attention to the words in bold:
If you do not contact us following receipt of this letter we may have no alternative other than to recommend to our clients that solicitors issue legal action against you which may follow.

This is designed to frighten people into paying, but read it again and you will see its an empty threat.

It also proves that Virgin have not recalled the debt from Moorcroft - which they have told me twice (once by phone and once by letter).

Update 21st December
Its now several weeks since I last wrote to Virgin and they have not responded within their own seven day promise.

I have, however, received a letter from Midas Credit Services (just another name for Moorcroft):

We are now reviewing the account prior to the possible recommending of legal action by external solicitors acting on behalf of our clients.

Interesting to see where they go with this. I know that they never actually take anyone to court, but I do harbour a fantasy of humiliating them in court by calling their client as a witness in my defence. Meanwhile, in the real world, I need to escalate my virgin complaint as they still have not given me an undertaking regarding my credit history.

I phoned Virgin and was put through to the debt department who have sent another recall form to Moorcroft. I then got a call from the complaints department stating that this issue may refer to a "national account" which has a different complaint address to the one given to me by Moorcroft at the beginning of this process! I would need to contact them with my address details (which were in my original complaint letter)  and account number (which I have never had as the service was never provisioned).

I then got a second call saying they had found my national account number.

I am now going to raise this with the independent adjudication service

Updated 4th January 2013
I have now submitted my complaint to CISAS for ajudication, pointing out again that no line was ever provisioned on the BT circuit serving my flat. Hopefully this will be irrefutable enough to get some action. I will have to wait and see.

One aspect of contract law that affects this is that if both parties agree to a contract, but the supplier fails to provide the service then the contract becomes void, this would mean that if Virgin failed to provide me with a service then any cancellation fee applicable under the contract would be unenforceable.

Incidentally, I received another letter from Moorcroft today saying the debt had been passed to their home collections division and that a representative "may" call on me. Clearly they have ignored my previous statement that I will pay nothing without a court order.

Updated 14th January 2013
CISAS have replied confirming receipt of my documentation and stating

We acknowledge receipt of an application for adjudication by the customer, a copy of which
is attached for the attention of the company.  Please note that any further documents submitted after this date may lead to your
application being restarted in order to give the company time to consider them.
In accordance with the rules of the scheme, the company is now required to submit two
copies of their response to the claim, which should be returned to us within 14 days of
receipt of this letter, that is, on or before 24/01/2013. The company should list all papers
being submitted, and where possible submit their response by email.  A copy of any
defence to your case received from the company will be sent to you and you will be given
the opportunity to make any comments about it which you wish to make.
Please be advised that the company may contact you in order to negotiate a settlement of
your claim.  If they do that but no agreed settlement is reached they must still submit their
defence to your claim by the due date above.
The company may decide to settle your claim in  full, ie to give you everything you are
claiming in your application.  Under these circumstances the company will notify us and we
will write to tell you.  We will close our file at that time because the adjudicator has no power
to award any more than is claimed.  

Updated 17th January 2013
CISAS have dropped the case after Virgin objected on the grounds that Virgin claim I have never been a customer. Meanwhile the debt collection letters keep coming.

Updated 25th April 2013
I thought I would update this article given the publicity today of the bill that Virgin media sent to a dead person.

I have not heard anything from Moorcroft for a couple of months but I have had calls from a company called HL Solicitors which I am ignoring. I think the debt has been sold on to them.

Update 17th June 2015
Over two years later and it's not over yet. The debt has now been sold on to a company called NCS!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trumpet or Cornet?

The debate about the choice between playing the  trumpet or cornet has been going on since the trumpet switched from low F to mezzo Bb around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. Louis Armstrong switched to trumpet in 1927 when he started playing in a dance band, and it seem to have been the dance bands that promoted the trumpet.

In this article by Nat Gonella from 1933 he points out that it is the streamline look of the trumpet as much as its greater projection that makes it more suitable for "modern" music.

Click here to read it online.

(From Modern Style Trumpet Playing by Nat Gonella, Henri Selmer & Co, 1933)

This Jimmy Savile stuff just gets weirder

Apparently he put his name to a ghost written children's book the 1980's as part of a child protection campaign:

The introduction makes particularly chilling reading in light of recent events:

And back in the 70's he even got round to writing a book about his relationship with God:

I promise you - none of these have been photoshopped!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Christians beheaded by 18 year old here in the UK

John Baird and Andrew Hardie were weavers and leaders in the "radical war" of 1820. They were executed in Stirling on 8th September 1820. Lots has been written about them, but one of the overlooked issues is their religious faith. Both Baird and Hardie were practising Christians and their demand for democracy and justice was something that grew out of their understanding of the gospel.

In today's folk religion of fundamentalism there is an assumption that the persecuted will be right wing Christians and the persecutors will be Muslims. Yet, here in 1820 we have the persecuted Christians being remarkably left wing and the persecutors being the state with the established church as its spiritual wing. You might like to reflect on how the biblical idea of justice intersects with modern expressions of Christianity.

The execution of Baird and Hardie was a remarkable event and will be described shortly, but first:

The Players

Andrew Hardie - weaver and revolutionary.

John Baird - weaver and revolutionary.

Rev Dr George Wright DD - minister of the East Kirk, Stirling.

From Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae

Rev Dr Alexander Small - minister of the West Kirk, Stirling.

From Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae

The East and West Kirks were in the same building, the historic Church of the Holy Rude which was divided with a partition after a fall out within the congregation:

“Covenanters were not without divisions among themselves. Mr Guthrie had a ministerial colleague in his work at Holy Rude. The two did not see eye to eye. The solution resorted to by the Town Council was the erection of a wall between nave and choir, thus providing a separate church for each of the disputing ministers. This wall, somewhat adapted over the years, survived until the mid-1930s, when the separate East and West Congregations were at last united and the building, like the congregations, made one.” (From the guidebook:

Rev Archibald Bruce- Minister of the North Kirk, Stirling (recently refounded after a number of years disuse following the Erskinite secession)

From Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae

The Executioner

John Prebble in “The King’s Jaunt” claimed that the headsman was an 18 year old medical student. Nobody had been beheaded or quartered since the rising of 1745 and the Stirling hangman Tom Young (known as the “staff man” because of his staff of office) may not have wanted to do it.

I can't confirm this or find his source, but the execution of James Wilson, another weaver who was sentenced to be hung, and quartered at Glasgow was carried out by another medical student called Thomas Moore who was twenty years old (although the crowd's anger prevented the body being quartered). Prebble's assertion is not unlikely:

On Wednesday afternoon, 30th August, 1820, dressed in prison garb and securely shackled, Wilson was led from the gaol and bound onto a hurdle or gate. The horse-drawn hurdle sounded hollowly as it trundled over filthy cobbled streets on its way to Glasgow Green where a multitude of more than twenty thousand people waited in silence. It was just a few minutes to three o'clock when the prisoner, his head high, dignified and proud, calmly walked to the scaffold steps where his executioner waited.
[Thomas Moore was a twenty-year-old medical student who had volunteered for the macabre task. He was somberly attired in a grey coat with black trousers and fur hat. A strip of black crepe masked his face. At his feet lay the black bag containing tools of his trade: The scalpels and saws that would soon be utilized to surgically eviscerate, decapitate, and finally quarter the victim.]
The headsman appeared to be about 20 years of age, of a genteel appearance, and executed his obnoxious task with the most determined coolness. The whole ceremony of the decapitation did not occupy above a minute, and at four o' clock the ground was clear, without any material accident having happened.
(from Glasgow Herald Friday September 1, 1820)

Broadside concerning the execution of the Radicals, Andrew Hardie and John Baird

Click on image above to see the original.


A Full, True, and Particular Account of the Execution of ANDREW HARDIE and JOHN BAIRD, who were Hanged and Beheaded at Stirling, on Friday the 8th September 1820, for High Treason, together with their Behaviour at the Place of Execution.
YESTERDAY, 8th September, 1820, the preparation for the execution of these unfortunate men having been completed the previous night, this morning the scaffold appeared to the view of the inhabitants. On each side the scaffold was placed a coffin, at the head of which was a tub, filled with saw-dust, destined to receive the head. To the aide of the tub was affixed a block.
The clergymen of the town (the reverend Drs Wright and Small,) and the reverend Mr Bruce, throughout the confinement of the prisoners, were unremitting in their duties. The morning previous to the execution was spent almost solely in devotion and reflections, suited to the awful situation of the prisoners. About 11 o'clock a troop of the 7th Dragoon Guards arrived from Falkirk, and were assisted by the 15th Foot quartered in the Castle.
At a quarter after one the procession left the Castle, and was seen to move down Broad Street, the unfortunate men in a hurdle, their backs to the horse, and the headsman with his axe sitting so as to face them. They were respectably dressed in black, with weepers. The procession was attended by the Sheriff depute and his Substitute, and the Magistrates, all with their staves of office. The troops lined the streets so as to permit the whole to pass slowly and undisturbed to the spot intended for the execution. During the procession, the prisoners sung a hymn, in which they were joined by the multitude.
At 20 minutes to two o'clock, the hurdle arrived at the Court-house. Hardie first descended. He was followed by Baird, then the headsman. Hardie, by mistake, was conducted into the waiting-room. He bowed twice respectfully to the gentlemen who were present. The Reverend Dr Wright accompanied Hardie. The Reverend Dr Small, and Mr Brown, were with Baird. Hardie turned round, and observing how few persons were present said to one of the clergymen, "Is this all that is to be present." Dr Wright read the whole of the 51st psalm. He then delivered a most impressive prayer; after which, a few verses of the same psalm, from the 7th verse, were sung by the prisoners and others present, Hardie giving out two lines at a time, in a clear and distinct voice, and sung the same without any tremulency. The Reverend Dr Small then delivered a prayer, remarkable for zeal and fervour; after which, the 103d psalm was sung, Hardie giving out two lines at a time as before.
The conduct of these two men while in the Court-room was most calm and unassuming. Some refreshment being offered, Hardie took a glass of sherry, and Baird a glass of port. Hardie said something the exact import of which we could not collect. He begged the sheriff to express their gratitude to General Graham, Major Peddie, and the public authorities, for their humanity and attention; he then bowed to the other persons present, and drank off the whole of the contents of the glass. Baird then addressed himself to the sheriff; and begged to convey sentiments of a similar nature. When they were pinioned Hardie mentioned to Baird to come forward to the scaffold. While in the Courtroom both prisoners particularly Hardie, seemed less affected by their situation than any other person present; his hand, while he held his book, never trembled. On their arrival at the scaffold, there was a dead silence. After a few minutes, Baird addressed the crowd in a very loud voice. He adverted to the circumstance in which he was placed, and said he had but little to say, but that he never gave his assent to any thing inconsiatent with truth and justice. He then recommended the bible, and a peaceful conduct to his hearers. Hardie then addressed the crowd. He commenced with the word "Countrymen." At something which we could not completely catch, and which we must not guess at there was a huzzaing, and marks of approbation. After a few moments silence as if recollecting he had proceeded too far, and had excited feelings inconsistent with his situation, he spoke again. He advised the crowd not to think of them, but to attend to their bibles, and recommended them, in place of going to public houses, to drink to the memory of Baird and Hardie, that they would retire to their devotions. After the ropes were adjusted, a most warm and affectionate prayer was delivered by the reverend Mr Bruce. At eleven minutes before three the necessary arrangements being made, Hardie gave the signal, when they were launched into eteraity. After hanging half an hour, they were cut down, and placed upou the coffins, with their necks upon a block; the headsman then came forward; he was a little man, apparently about 18 years of ages he wore a black crape over his face, a hairy cap, and a black gown. On his appearance there was a cry of murder. He struck the neck of Hardie thrice before it was severed then held it up with both hands, saying, "This is the head of a traitor." He severed the head of Baird at two blows, held it up in the same manner, and used the same words. The coffins were then removed, and the crowd peaceably dispersed.
Edinburgh :—Printed for William Cameron.—PRICE ONE PENNY.

Some points of humanity to add to this story

Granny Duncan who hid letters to the two men at the bottom of their bowls of porridge:
The narrow passage leading from the Esplanade to Upper Castlehill and Ballangeich is supposed to have received the above name from one Millar, who resided there, and was for a long time tacksman [taxman] of the petty (or penny) customs of the burgh. Here lived "Granny” Duncan, who attended the political martyrs, Baird and Hardie, while in the Castle awaiting execution, and was a great favourite with them. It is said she was in the habit of making porridge for them, and was thus enabled to carry in letters from friends. The plan she took was to allow the porridge to cool, turn them out, lay the letter on the bottom, and replace the food. Granny attended the two men to the place of execution. She died at the age of 96.
(From: Auld Buildings Of Stirling, Its Closes, Wynds, And Neebour Villages By William Drysdale (Stirling: Eneas Mackay, 43 Murray Place 1904)

You might also like to read copies of the letters sent by Andrew Hardie to his uncle and his sweetheart dated, Stirling Castle, 5th September 1820 which you will find here (PDF file):

Friday, October 5, 2012

Email forwarding from domain to Gmail not working

Sometimes forwarding email from your domain to an existing address makes more sense than having a separate email account. For example, you may have a special address for an event which is used infrequently or only for a short period of time.

However, if you forward your email to a Gmail account it may not work. Here are some of the possible causes and solutions.

If you send yourself a test email and it does not arrive
When you set up your forwarder the first thing you probably did is send yourself a test message to make sure it was working. If this did not arrive then it does not mean your forwarder is faulty. Try sending an email to your forwarding address from another email account (not the Gmail one you are forwarding it to). It should arrive in your inbox.

Here is the reason why this happens:

If you forward mail from on another host to a Gmail account then any mail sent from that gmail address to will be dropped by Gmail without generating an error message. This is to prevent the risk of forwarding loops. Emails sent from a different Gmail address or from any other email address will get through. This is a weird rule of Gmail's and not part of standard email protocols. 

Possible solution (unverified):

If you add your forwarded address as a sending address in your Gmail account and verify it there is some evidence that this disables this block. The evidence I have for this is that the forwarders I have to my own Gmail account that are also set up as external sending addresses in Gmail are able to send mail to themselves.

If your forwarder is not working at all
If you have checked the configuration at the hosting company providing the email forwarder and tried sending from a test message from a different address and it still fails then then the most common reason is that the hosts mail servers are blacklisted by Google. Unfortunately, Google do not publish a list of what they are blocking as this is constantly changing, but in my experience the bigger the hosting company the greater the likelihood of them being blocked. For example  Enom's mail servers have been regularly blocked by Gmail over the past few years.

I hope this helps someone work through these issues which are known to affect web hosts using Cpanel and other control panels.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When an answer to prayer is not actually a prayer answered.

Morningside Baptist Church (now renamed "Central - Jesus at the Heart") are reporting an answer to prayer on their web site here.

The story begins with the church meeting on the evening of Sunday 24th September. I will  let them take up the story from there:

During the final stages of the evening, we prayed as a group for the issue of drugs in Edinburgh. This was a specific time of contending for change for a specific issue. Before we started to pray, a testimony was shared about a group of Californian intercessors who prayed for the same problem in their region and how they had seen their prayers answered though a report in the newspaper.
Sitting in small groups, we each simply asked God to bring about a shift – in effect, that God would bring justice to this issue (Luke 18). Today (Monday 25th) we prayed for this issue again during a leadership meeting in the church. At 12:48pm (during the end of this meeting), a report on BBC news Scotland was published that the police had seized a £30,000 cannabis haul in Leith.

The report can be found here on the BBC web site.

There are two issues I have with this story. Firstly, they did not pray for any specific outcome so attributing an outcome to being the result of prayer is tenuous, particularly in a city where there are drug incidents involving the police at least once a week. There simply isn't a logical connection between the two. Trying to attribute cause and effect is not unlike cold reading and its quite unbecoming of Christians. Who are they trying to kid? Secondly, the raid in which the cannabis was seized took place earlier on the Sunday, before any of the prayers were made. The investigative work which led to it would have been ongoing for some time.

I think whats happened here is a case of people wanting to bolster their faith by seeing a pattern of cause and effect that is not there. Its not the first time I have seen it either. I knew of someone who had found a lump in her breast and was referred for tests by her doctor. Her church prayed. The tests results were that it was a non malignant growth. The church declared it as a healing miracle. Other more skeptical observers might take the view that she never had cancer in the first place.

There is still drug addiction in Leith.