Single mum on Universal Credit fined £400 after family day out by the sea

A single mum on Universal Credit has been hit with a £400 fine after spending a day at the seaside with her children.

Jemma Martin has said she was ‘threatened’ by a bailiff after enjoying the bank holiday with her family and is unsure how she will be able to afford to live. She received a knock on the door from bailiffs asking her for a “big chunk” of the money she has each month to support her children.

The 31-year-old had traveled to Skegness with her then-partner and her children, who were then aged four and 18 months. 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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As there were no parking spaces for parents and children, Miss Martin parked slightly above the white line to make room. She then received a parking ticket, which she has since contested with East Lindsey District Council, LincolnshireLive Reports.

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 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 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’ll have to pay it back, so it will take a while before I’m on top.”

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

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