10:11AM, Friday 15 February 2013
A motorist who got a parking ticket in Windsor was shocked to find a bailiff at her door threatening to confiscate her goods.
Laura Canning overstayed on her ticket last March when she stopped at the Royal Borough's Victoria Street car park. She admits she forgot about the ticket, because she was busy moving to a new home in Warfield near Ascot.
Finally she got a letter at her new address from the Royal Borough's debt recovery agency Rundles in September demanding £95.
She said: "My income was low as I had left work to look after my elderly mother. So I sent Rundles £5 along with a letter of my intention to pay."
But she ended up with a personal visit from a bailiff who left a 'clearance of goods' notice and a warning he would be back next day if she did not pay £445.64. Laura says she had to borrow the money and has written to the Royal Borough protesting. She said: "How can a department justify sending an overlooked parking fine to a bailiff and condoning their ways of getting money with menaces? Does the Royal Borough want to have this stigma attached to their name?"
A Royal Borough spokesman said that the authority had sent four letters to Ms Canning between April and July without any reply. He warned it was the responsibility of motorists to make the sure the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency knew if they changed addresses, so that relevant letters reached them.
He said: "The council strongly advises that motorists make contact the council regarding penalty charge notices before the matter escalates to payment enforcement via a third party bailiff."
He confirmed that since the Royal Borough took control of parking enforcement in 2008, 500 cases of non-payment had reached the stage of bailiffs being called in.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.