Motorist hit with £1,000 bill for parking fine row

Parking sign in Library Street
Parking sign in Library Street

A WIGAN motorist failed to pay his parking fines - and ended up being hit with a bill totalling more than £1,000.

Chris Jones, from Ashton, spoke out after a company employed to recover outstanding money owed to the town hall started pursuing him in relation to the tickets, with numerous visits to his home eventually swelling his bill to more than £1,100.

Mr Jones, of Nicol Road, said he picked up the trio of tickets during a period last summer when Wigan Council switched meters on Library Street to payment by text only, saying he had to use a phone in his office nearby to make the payment but he was ticketed before he could do so.

However, Wigan Council has given a robust defence of its parking arrangements and its use of bailiffs, saying their conduct is strictly monitored and the process of recovering money is clearly explained to those who find themselves owing amounts to the town hall.

Mr Jones, 28, said: “When the meters were changed to pay by text only I had a business in Wigan town centre but I didn’t have a mobile at the time so I had to walk to my office to ring up for a ticket.

“Someone gave me a ticket while I was walking or sat in my office trying to pay.

“The tickets were originally £35 but it went up to £70 while I was appealing and once the bailiffs got involved it got so high I didn’t know what to do.”

However, the town hall strongly denied either the council or bailiffs employed to recover outstanding fines had done anything wrong, saying it was necessary for the local authority to recoup money to which it was entitled.

Terry Dunn, director of environment at Wigan Council, said: “The individuals involved have been made aware and acknowledged they have outstanding fines owing to the council.

“We’ve explained the appeals process to them yet have received no appeal and no payment. They have failed to act on the notices we issued despite being told what the consequences of this would be.

“We must be fair and consistent in our approach so we have followed procedure and registered the debt with the County Court.

“It’s unfortunate it’s come to this but the individuals involved have had ample opportunity to pay their debt. A warrant has been issued and passed on to bailiffs.

“The bailiffs who act on our behalf are heavily regulated and monitored.

“They have made repeated visits to the address given by Mr Jones and spoken to him yet he has still not paid. The debt has now grown because the bailiffs add to the amount every time there is a failure to pay, something that was clearly explained to Mr Jones.

“The debt is now a considerable sum. As of last week, Mr Jones indicated he will pay the outstanding charges.

“If payment is received in the next few days, as a gesture of goodwill, the bailiffs have offered to reduce the amount he owes.”