Mum on Universal Credit ‘intimidated’ by bailiff’s £400 parking request

A mother said she felt ‘intimidated’ by a bailiff’s demand for £400 after a dispute over a parking ticket. Jemma Martin was disciplined after parking on a white line during a family day out by the sea.

The 31-year-old, a single mother who works at Universal Credit, said she felt threatened after bailiffs knocked on her door. She said the sum requested was a “big chunk” of the money she has each month to support her children.

Miss Martin, 31, had traveled to Skegness last August, on a public holiday, for a day out with her then partner and her children, aged four and 18 months at the time, LincolnshireLive Reports. But when they arrived, she said they were unable to properly open the car doors to get children and a stroller in and out of the car.

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Because there were no parking spaces for parents and children, Miss Martin, of Beechdale, Nottingham, parked slightly above the white line to create space. She then received a parking ticket, which she has since contested with East Lindsey District Council.

Bailiffs came to her home on April 4. She said: “I had the bailiff on my door asking for £394. But I was not financially able to pay that.”

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 then made another threat, according to Miss Martin, to enter her house.

“I was very intimidated, he was a big guy,” she said. On a form the debt collector left, 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 said what happened was “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. 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.

She said: “£400 is a big part of my monthly allowance, it’s about half. I have my mum I can rely on, but it’s to borrow, not to have.

“I’m going to have to pay it back, so it’s going to be a while before I’m on top.”

A spokesman 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.” Bailiff’s agency, Bristow and Sutor, has been approached for comment.

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