A postman who is becoming a postwoman claims he has been ripped off in his dream of becoming a tattooist.
Simon Mitchell, who will shortly begin living as a female known as Sammy, invested £22,600 into setting up a tattoo studio with a business partner last year.
But he claims the partner of the studio, Don Evert, has refused to give him any cash back after the business relationship collapsed.
The ugly row has involved police and a string of accusations from either side.
Simon, 49, even tried to settle the debt DIY-style – by going into the studio and taking equipment.
Don, who still runs Colourful Creations in Bletchley, claims he does not Simon owe a penny due to the value of the goods he seized.
I started self-medicating with female hormones five years ago but now I’m doing it properly. I have to start living full-time as Sammy soon and then I plan to have the operation. He has yet to tell his Royal Mail colleagues about his transition. It doesn’t matter whether I’m a postman or postwoman – I can still do my job.”Simon Mitchell, who lives in Loughton, says he knew he wanted to be female from the age of 16.
And he partly blames the dispute on the fact that Simon’s medication of female hormones affected him.
Don said he was “surprised but sympathetic” when Simon announced he wanted to become a female.
“He was self-medicating hormones and I feel they made him have mood swings and act totally irrationally,” he claimed.
‘Female hormones are not to blame’
Simon, who borrowed £11,600 from his elderly mother to invest, denies the medication had this effect.
He said: “ I’m becoming a woman but that does not alter my business sense. Hormones have nothing to do with it. I will take this to the equality council.”
He claims the equipment he seized was worth around £9,000 and he is still pursuing the remainder of his investment.
“I’ve been onto police, Action Fraud and Companies House, but nobody seems able to help me,” he said.
“This was my mum’s money. She’s 79. I have to get it back for her.”
Simon has now resigned as director of the business through Companies House.
Don invested £1,200 in the business himself initially, but says his equipment and expertise was worth £12,500.
But due to the start-up costs, the business started trading at a deficit.
“I tried my best to keep a rigorous eye on spending,” said Don.
He claims Simon made “no effort” to pass the rigid health, safety and hygiene criteria for piercing skin.
“I had no option but to cease the piercing from his side, both in our interests and public safety,” he said.
‘Tattoo studio row has affected our health’
Both parties say the Colourful Creations tattoo studio dispute has affected their mental health.
“I feel terrible about losing my mum’s money and I’m really frustrated because every attempt I’ve made to get it back has failed,” said Simon.
“Thanks to my money and my mum’s money, Don has his own tattoo studio and I have nothing.
“I’m still a postman – or soon-to-be postwoman.
It is just so unfair.”
Simon says his solicitor advised him to go to the shop, which is in Bletchley’s St Mary’s Avenue, and take goods to recover part of his investment.
Don said: “Simon smashed the locks...He took working tools that belonged to my contractor Kerry.
“At this point, with all the losses incurred and the value of those losses far exceeding his initial investment and claim, I deemed the matter settled.
“But there is continued harassment. He wants more and more.”
Simon claims Colourful Creations boss Don “shut him out” of the business from the start and refused to train him as promised.
“I’ve always loved tattoes and I met Don when he did some tattoos on me at another studio.
“He said he wanted to set up a business of his own so I offered to invest my money and be a partner.”
Simon claims he was not allowed to learn how to do tattoos.
“I’m teaching myself now, using myself as a model,” he said.
Don Evert: “During the building process, which was very stressful for both of us, tempers flared and we rubbed each other the wrong way – both of us being headstrong. Simon did not like taking direction from me.”