Fine Dodgers Warned The Bailiffs Are Coming

People who try to avoid paying court fines across Dorset Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be targeted in a month-long campaign launched by Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) today.

Operation Crackdown will see HMCS Court Enforcement Officers (CEOs) and local police engaging in a series of blitzes on offenders' homes to collect unpaid fines.

Bailiffs will also be issued with warrants to confiscate property. Where necessary, those who refuse to co-operate will be arrested. Court time will be set aside to deal specifically with fine dodgers.

The Operation Crackdown blitz which took place in February 2010 saw 9425 warrants executed and £1.02m collected across England & Wales. The overall result was that 14.7% more cash was collected than in February 2009

Simon Townley, HMCS Area Director for Dorset, Hampshire & Isle of Wight and Wiltshire, said:

"Our message to fine dodgers is clear: pay up now or face the consequences.

"The courts will do everything within their powers to trace those who do not pay. Money can be taken from an offender's earnings or from benefits if they are unemployed. Warrants can be issued instructing court employed agents to seize and sell goods belonging to the offender. Ultimately an offender can be imprisoned for non-payment of their fine."

In the financial year 09-10 23,653 warrants to seize and sell goods were issued by magistrates' courts in the South West.

Fines can be paid via the National Fine Payment Line on 0300 790 9901 (England) or 0300 790 9980 (Wales) or online at www.direct.gov.uk/payacourtfine

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