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4/14/2006
UK: Disabled Woman's Home Raided Over Parking Ticket
UK council bailiffs raid the home of a 73-year-old disabled woman over parking tickets.

Bailiffs
Bailiffs working on behalf of the Camden, UK council entered the home uninvited of 73-year-old Helen Charilaou at 7am to demand £572.26 (US $1000) as payment for four unpaid parking tickets, plus assorted collection fees. The bailiffs were there to seize property from the retired woman's home if she refused to pay on the spot.

"I just don't think they should treat vulnerable old people in this way," daughter Zoe Lawrence, 49, told the Hampstead and Highgate Express. "It is just so heartless -- there's no compassion these days. It's just for the money."

Charilaou, who uses crutches, was ticketed while seeking treatment at Middlesex Hospital. She was charged for parking on single yellow lines in a green zone, failing to properly set the clock which accompanies her disabled parking badge and failing to display the badge. Lawrence explains that the parking rules are too complicated for her mother to understand.

The London borough of Camden issued 72,394 bailiff warrants over parking tickets to collect £38 million in the last fiscal year. The bailiffs are private contractors who have the authority to climb through an open front or back window or climb over gates to gain entry into a home to seize goods.

The London Motorists Action Group believes the practice has been abused. "Some bailiffs behave as though they are outside the law," the group's website states. "They trade on people's ignorance of the legal framework of this grubby little trade."

Lawrence paid the bailiffs on her mother's behalf to end the home invasion.

Source: Ticket bailiffs raid disabled pensioner (Hampstead and Highgate Express (UK), 4/14/2006)

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