A working single mother claims she was ‘threatened’ by bailiffs for almost £400 following a parking dispute on a day out with her children.
Jemma Martin, 31, went to Skegness for a day’s holiday in August with her then partner and two young children, LincsLive reports. They arrived at the North Parade parking lot, but were unable to properly open their car doors in the space in order to get her children and a stroller in and out of the car. As there were no parking spaces for parents and children, to solve this problem Miss Martin parked slightly above the white line to make room.
She was subsequently given a parking ticket, which she has since contested with East Lindsey District Council. Almost eight months later, on April 4 of this year, Miss Martin was visited by ushers. She said: “I had the bailiff on my door asking for £394. But I was not financially able to pay that.”
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When Miss Martin told the debt collector she couldn’t pay, he allegedly threatened to take her car, but couldn’t because it was financed. “He threatened to come to my house and take my things,” she said, adding that when she said she wouldn’t let him.
Miss Martin claims he then told her he would break into the house. “I had a guy in front of me telling me he could break into my house and take my stuff,” she said. “I was very intimidated, he was a big guy.”
.On a form left by the debt collector, it said Miss Martin had paid voluntarily, but she said she had paid because she felt ‘threatened’. She said, “I’m five foot two, what can I do?” She called what happened “shameful”.
Miss Martin works two hours a day as a midday supervisor at a local school, and the rest of her salary is supplemented by Universal Credit payments. Her ex-partner who was with her at the time of the parking fine is no longer with her, so she worries about how she will pay the fine.
“£400 is a big part of my monthly allowance, it’s about half that,” she said. “I have my mother who I can rely on, but it’s to borrow, not to have. I’m going to have to pay it back, so it will be a while before I’m on top.” Miss Martin says East Lindsey District Council told her the bailiff may not have acted appropriately.
A spokesperson for East Lindsey District Council said: “Following due process, the lady in question has been written four times and no response has been received to these communications. Following this lack of response, the matter was referred to the bailiffs who again wrote to the lady twice and no response was received to these letters.
“As is normal in these cases, the lady was visited by bailiffs and this prompted a complaint to the bailiff company which will be investigated by them using their internal procedures.” LincsLive has approached the bailiff company for comment.