Month-long blitz to crackdown on fine dodgers

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A CRACKDOWN has been launched to target people who try to avoid playing court fines.

Defendants who dodge court fines across England and Wales are being targeted in a month-long campaign launched by Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) yesterday.

Operation Crackdown will see HMCS Court Enforcement Officers (CEOs) and local police in Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria engaging in a series of blitzes on offenders’ homes to collect unpaid fines.

Bailiffs will also be issued with warrants to confiscate property.

Where necessary, those who refuse to co-operate will be arrested. Court time will be set aside to deal specifically with fine dodgers.

The Operation Crackdown blitz, which took place in February 2010, saw 9,425 warrants executed and £1.02m collected across England and Wales.

Sheila Proudlock, HMCS area director for Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria said: “Our message to fine dodgers is clear. Pay up now or face the consequences.

“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.”

Fines can be paid via the National Fine Payment Line on 0300 790 9901 (England) or online at www.direct.gov.uk/payacourtfine.