‘Bailiffs came for car seven months after I paid fine’

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A WOMAN has told of her horror after bailiffs turned up on her doorstep to take away her car – for a parking ticket she had paid seven months earlier.

The Courts Service, which called in the bailiffs, has admitted it was an error between them and the Ipswich Central Ticket Office, after it duplicated paperwork.

But the woman, who lives in South Norfolk and who asked not to be named, said: “I was ill in bed so my husband answered the door, but if I had answered they would have taken my car away. I am absolutely horrified.”

The woman, who is in her 40s, and who suffers from stress, anxiety and agoraphobia, was issued a parking ticket for an offence in Southwold last year. She said she tried to pay her £45 fine but said despite numerous attempts failed to get through on a payment line.

She then got a letter from a debt collection agency saying her fine had risen to £120 and that if she did not pay within 10 days it would rise to £300.

“Eventually, I managed to speak to the manager of the central ticket office, who said she could understand my frustration and she would get the fine reverted back to the original amount if I could pay, which I did.”

Having paid the fine in October, the woman thought nothing more of it, until bailiffs knocked on her door late last month to take away her BMW. Fortunately, the woman managed to fend off the bailiffs long enough to ring the ticket office. Their, officials said she owed money on another ticket – but further investigation revealed it was a duplicate of the same ticket she had already paid and the bailiffs were called off.

“I was distraught that it had got this far. I was having panic attacks It was really stressful,” said the woman whose local MP Elizabeth Truss has since said she will look into the matter. The Courts Service, in a letter to the woman, said the fine was ‘registered in duplication to the magistrates court from the Suffolk fixed penalty office’.