Vote winner? Thousands received bailiff letters in election week in Thurrock

THOUSANDS of residents received letters from bailiffs in the run up to the local and european election week in Thurrock.

YT understands that 2,500 letters were sent from Kent-based bailiffs Whyte and Co and relate to un-paid parking debts going back a number of years.

Many will applaud the “get-tough” attitude of Thurrock Council in relation to retrieving unpaid fines but it has left hundreds if not thousands questioning the debts.

One resident, who did not wish to be named said: “The letter I was sent arrived on May 21st telling me I had to pay the outstanding debt by May 20th?.

“The debt referred to a parking ticket in June 2011. I have no paper trail for this ticket and am totally confused.”

The bailiff letter let the alleged debtors know of the possible fees they may incur of they did not pay immediately.

The letter also helpfully enclosed details of a parking fine surgery that Thurrock Council hosted on Tuesday. YT will endeavour to see how many turned up to the surgery.

Portfolio holder for central services, cllr Phil Smith said: “It is important that we collect the unpaid fines in Thurrock. This revenue will help us provide better services to the people of Thurrock.”

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said: "Motorists with historic outstanding parking fines from Thurrock Council were invited to a special surgery at the Civic Offices in Grays on 28 May to find ways of paying the debt without incurring further charges.

The next step in the process for tickets issued before 1 April 2013 and still not paid would otherwise be enforcement action which could involve extra costs such as £75 for compliance, £235 for calling and taking control of goods, and £110 for removal".
 YT contacted the shadow portfolio holder for central services, cllr Barry Johnson (Cons) but he knew nothing about these letters.

Cllr Johnson said: ‘It would have been nice to have been informed about this. I am sure council leader John Kent was delighted that thousands of voters may have received letters from debt collectors on the week of the elections.”

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