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2/22/2006
UK: Meter Maids Visit Home to Demand $1100
Bailiffs in Burnley, UK threaten to take $1100 in property out of a home over two parking tickets.

Withington family
Burnley, UK resident John Withington last week had bailiffs working on behalf of Parkwise show up at his family's home twice demanding £650 (US $1100) in payment over a pair of parking tickets. Withington had parked in a handicapped spot while taking his disabled father shopping last year, but neglected to display his disabled badge properly.

Withington had appealed the fine, but heard nothing regarding the disposition of his case until the authorities arrived Monday and Wednesday saying payment must be made by 3pm Thursday or the fine would increase to £900 (US $1570) and they would proceed to remove property out of their home equal to the value of the new fine.

"It is absolutely ridiculous to expect any family, let alone one with six children to pay out that kind of money in one week," Wendy Withington told Burnley Today. "We had to borrow money from friends and John's mother, a pensioner, to pay the fines."

According to the Burnley Borough Council, this is a standard procedure. "If bailiffs gain access to your property they will assess what goods you have and judge if their value is sufficient to clear the arrears," the council's website explains. Those who have do not have goods of sufficient value will be imprisoned.

"This is legalised burglary, and I think it is disgraceful," Wendy Withington said. "The bailiffs said they would have to take our property if we could not pay, but there is no way I could have given them my cooker or anything like that with six children in the house."

Source: Anger Over 350 Parking Penalties (Burnley News, 2/21/2006)

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