Unpaid library fines have rocketed to more than £174,000 across the Bradford district, the Telegraph & Argus can exclusively reveal.

The total amount of fines issued across the district in the past two and a half years was £342,349 and less than half of those outstanding fines, £168,000, have been paid back to Bradford Council. The outstanding amount is £174,508.

According to the Council’s website, current penalty charges for overdue books stand at 15p for every day the library is open, up to a maximum of £10. The Council has waived nearly £39,000 of fees, with £7,800 being waived from Bradford Library. Nearly £10,000 was waived because of “staff error” and £10,000 because of “other”, although it is unclear what that incorporates, and £3,312 because of illness.

Other reasons for late books include bereavement, family emergencies and those that claimed they never had the books in the first place.

The information was revealed by Bradford Council after the T&A lodged a Freedom of Information request.

Councillor Dave Green, the Council’s executive member responsible for culture, said: “Having had library fines, as I am sure most of the population have, the money is retrieved when people bring their overdue books back. That is the easiest way.

“After a period of time when books have not been returned we write to people to say they have the books and they owe us money.”