Bailiffs could pursue more than a million motorists over unpaid fines


Bailiffs could pursue more than a million motorists over unpaid fines

Campaigners are warning motorists that they could face extortionate bailiff's charges and a damaged credit rating as councils pursue unpaid motoring fines.

Figures recently released by the Ministry of Justice revealed that 1,132,776 motorists had debts registered against them at the Traffic Enforcement Centre in Northampton last year.

Motorists with unpaid debts are being warned that bailiffs using unmarked vans and number plate recognition technology are hunting cars with unsettled fines against them.

Many are concerned, as a proportion of motorists are unaware that the vehicle that they own and drive on a daily basis has an unpaid fine against it because, for example, they purchased said vehicle with an unpaid ticket pending.

Earlier this year the London Motorists' Action Group told the Commons transport select committee that bailiffs "frequently and fraudulently demand fees which are far in excess of the permitted statutory levels."

To add insult to injury, as soon as a case is registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre, the fine increases by 50 per cent. This could take a standard £60 parking fine to £90 before bailiff's fees, which can run into the hundreds of pounds.

An AA spokesperson voiced concern over the readiness of councils to use bailiffs, telling The Daily Telegraph: "It is disappointing that some mistakes are made yet councils seem to readily wash their hands of drivers trapped in a cycle of threats from debt collectors and bailiffs.

"The fact that bailiffs are now swanning around like bounty hunters in vehicles with ANPR cameras to find vehicles with outstanding warrants is sinister."

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