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Council is blamed in parking fine outcry
Bradford Council has warned it will pursue ‘legitimate debts’ on behalf of taxpayers after one motorist claimed he lost his business and car after failing to pay parking fines.
Lee Spencer slammed the authority, claiming they failed to notify him of the tickets – which he received for parking outside his house on Birklands Road, Shipley, without a permit – and just sent bailiffs round at the first opportunity.
The 33-year-old says he was forced to empty his bank account of £390 to appease one bailiff who wanted payment for a £35 ticket.
He also said his friend had told him his £5,000 Saab was “dragged off with the alarm going off” by a bailiff.
The Council strongly denied any wrong-doing, insisting it carried out all its standard procedures before passing Mr Spencer’s debt to bailiffs.
Mr Spencer, who ran Mobile PC Doctor and fixed computers at the homes of people who could not get about, said: “This has ended my business. I am struggling. I am basically signing on at the moment. I could not pay my phone contract, so that was cancelled. I needed money for a car and the bailiff took my last £390 for a £35 ticket. I definitely blame the Council.”
Mr Spencer said he was aware of two tickets from the Council, but the authority say there were more. Mr Spencer said a bailiff had mentioned other tickets on top of the two he knew of.
He added that he wasn’t aware his parking permit had expired and didn’t realise there was even an expiry date.
“The Council only told me about the one ticket,” said Mr Spencer. “The one ticket I tried to follow up was stuck on my car. I asked the Council about the ticket, but was told there was nothing they could do now because it had been passed to bailiffs.”
Mr Spencer continued: “I followed the instructions to file a complaint as I felt it was unnecessary. I have been a resident of the Shipley area for more than 20 years.
“I rang the number provided and a lady told me I had to e-mail parking services with my complaint. I did and I waited more than three weeks for a reply. I was told there was nothing they could do as they had sold the debt onto a bailiff for recovery.”
Two weeks after his car was taken by the bailiff, Mr Spencer said he received a phone call from a man who claimed he had bought the Saab at an auction and wanted the keys.
Mr Spencer said: “He had broken into the car and found my business card inside. There were no keys supplied as it was taken by the bailiff without me present.”
Ian Bairstow, Bradford Council’s Strategic Director of Environment and Sport, said: “Bradford Council would be failing in its duty to the tax payers of the district if it failed to pursue legitimate debts as far as is practicably possible.
“This includes instances where people incur repeated Penalty Charge Notices and ignore their responsibility to deal with the notice through its cancellation or by paying the charge.
“We cannot comment on individual cases, but the Council only issues Penalty Charge Notices where vehicles are parked in contravention of parking regulations.
“The Council takes all reasonable measures to warn offenders who have not paid or successfully appealed their Penalty Charge Notices before passing debts to bailiffs.
“The Council’s bailiffs operate to a strict code of conduct and should not clamp a vehicle or seize property before making sure the owner is aware that the debt is due and that if it is not paid further action will be taken.”