Friday, March 18, 2016

Non-smoking woman forced to pay £650 fine for dropping cigarette in town she’d never been to

A woman from Monmouthshire in Wales was forced to pay a £650 fine for dropping a cigarette butt in Wigan, England, despite not smoking and never visiting the town. Emma Caresimo, 40, from Magor, was "horrified" after a bailiff arrived at her home and threatened to tow her car. She said the "upsetting" ordeal was for an offence committed by someone with her maiden name from Liverpool.

Wigan council said the court instructed the bailiff while HM Courts & Tribunals Service blamed "human error". Mrs Caresimo said she was at home with her three-year-old son when the bailiff clamped her Volkswagen Golf, which he told her was worth £3,700. "I said 'I have never been to Wigan and I don't smoke' but he wasn't having any of it. He didn't believe me and said he'd heard it all before," she explained.

"He said he would take the clamp off only if I paid the outstanding fines of £650. I had no other choice; it was awful." Mrs Caresimo called the police who, on arrival, said the bailiff was working within the law. "They should not be able to get the wrong person like this, it's very distressing," she said. Paul Barton, assistant director of operational services at Wigan council, said: "Following an unpaid fixed penalty notice last year we issued court proceedings to an Emma Smith with a Liverpool address.

"We prosecuted under this Liverpool address and have never issued any proceedings to a Welsh address or instructed any court or bailiff to visit a Welsh property." An HM Courts & Tribunals Service spokeswoman said: "As a result of human error HMCTS wrongly took enforcement action against an individual with the same name and date of birth as an offender. We are deeply sorry for any distress caused by this regrettable incident and have arranged for the money to be refunded. We have taken steps to avoid this happening in future."


Qualiall said...

no due process in England I take it?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely appalling!
And the bailiff being as rude as this, he ought to be ordered to pay her compensation out of his own pocket!

… for any losses she suffered all the while the car remained clamped
… loss of monetary interest for the duration from when the fine was paid until the full refund was back in her account
… tort

An additional £650 or the sum of the above, whichever is more, ought to be enough.