Millions in court fines are left unpaid

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court
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Up to £6.5m in court fines went unpaid in Lancashire last year.

Government figures showed 50 per cent of all financial impositions in the county – from April 2013 to March this year – were left outstanding.

And a campaign group reckoned the figures would leave taxpayers “furious”.

According to official figures from HM Courts and Tribunals, £4,475,513.95 was collected, £2,160,241.52 was cancelled, and £6,510,390.07 was left outstanding.

The figures represent the amount of money collected in relation to fines imposed during the 12-month 

A spokesman for HM Courts and Tribunals Service 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 and the police to sell goods belonging to the offender or to arrest the offender and bring them back before the court.

“Ultimately an offender can be imprisoned for non-payment of their fine.”

But campaign groups hit out at the figures, saying taxpayers would be angry at the findings.

Andy Silvester, campaign manager for the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said: “There’s not much point fining people if they don’t pay up.

“Taxpayers will be furious that they’re some £8m down, and they’ll be especially angry at the cancelled fines.

“The courts must think of better ways to ensure payment – whether that means ensuring people pay on the day, or outsourcing collection to a more efficient organisation.”

Financial impositions include fines, prosecution costs, compensation and victim surcharge.

The figures showed 34 per cent of the fines in Lancashire were collected, 16 per cent were cancelled, and 50 per cent were outstanding at the end of the period.