Bailiffs called in to chase up thousands of parking fines in Portsmouth
BAILIFFS have been ordered to act on more than 11,000 parking fines.
Freedom of information requests revealed Portsmouth City Council passed on 11,261 parking charge notices to bailiffs in the financial year 2018/19.
This was twice as many as in 2016/17, when 5,676 unpaid fines were passed to bailiffs.
Overall the proportion of cases sent to bailiffs went up by one per cent but the total number of parking charges went up from 43,361 to 80,435.
Previously The News revealed how outside of London, Portsmouth was the 16th highest authority for extra cash earned from parking charges, fines and permits from 2017 to 2018 – totalling £5.3m.
The council’s parking manager Kevin McKee said: 'Drivers should try to avoid receiving penalty charges by paying attention to the signs and parking carefully.'
Motorists have 14 days to pay a penalty charge notice in Portsmouth at the discounted rate of £25 or £35. This doubles 28 days after the notice is issued.
Two more chances are given to pay the fine before a warrant is issued to a bailiff.
Mr McKee added: 'Our advice is that if you get a penalty charge, pay it quickly and if you are in difficultly, talk to us.
‘We work with Citizens Advice and other services and do offer payment plans for outstanding penalty charges where appropriate. Otherwise we follow a clear legal process to recover what is owed.
‘It wouldn't be fair to drivers who pay promptly, if we just ignored people who ran up debts.’
The requests, from the Money Advice Trust, showed that across England and Wales bailiff use had risen by seven per cent.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the trust, believed bailiff action was not the right approach. She said: 'Bailiff action is harmful to people in debt, and these findings should concern us all.
'We will continue to work with councils to help them reduce their bailiff use, and to impress upon central government the urgent need for the national policy changes.'
In January two new city parking zones, MB and MC, raked in £1,000 a day from penalty charge notices.