Fine dodgers to be targeted across East Anglia
Ben KendallFine dodging criminals across East Anglia are to be targeted in a month-long campaign - with official warning they may seize offenders' property to cover any shortfall.Ben Kendall
Fine dodging criminals across East Anglia are to be targeted in a month-long campaign - with official warning they may seize offenders' property to cover any shortfall.
Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS) will lead Operation Crack Down, working alongside police forces in a series of blitzes, will be knocking on the doors of criminals who have missed payments through February.
Warrants to confiscate property will be issued and those who refuse to co-operate could be arrested.
Mike Littlewood, HMCS area director for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, said: 'Our message to fine dodgers is clear: if you've been fined, we will find you.
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'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.'
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In Norfolk, 5pc of fines go unpaid each year. In Suffolk this figure stands at 14pc and in Cambridgeshire it is 15pc.
Enforcement officers have been equipped with better tools to track down non-payers. New methods - such as on-line payments and text messages to warn offenders of the consequences of non-payment - are also being introduced.
HMCS will also have full access to benefits information and work is underway with magistrates to get more fines paid immediately, on the day they are imposed.
Last year, 128,300 warrants to seize and sell goods were issued by magistrates in the south east.
In the 12 months to September 2009, 3000 orders to deduct fine repayments directly from earning were made in East Anglia along with 22,600 orders to deduct repayments from benefits.
t Fines can be paid via the National Fine Payment Line on 0300 790 9901or online at www.direct.gov.uk/payacourtfine .