Man blocked from holiday over unpaid court fine

Blackpool tower. Picture: contributed

Blackpool tower. Picture: contributed

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A MAN from the Capital missed out on a holiday to Blackpool – after he was locked up for failing to pay a court fine.

The unsuspecting criminal had been all set for his trip away, but he was summoned to Edinburgh Sheriff Court to pay a fine for a breach of the peace charge.

He did not appear for the hearing – prompting a sheriff to issue a warrant for his arrest.

When he was arrested and taken to court, he was handed a sentence of 28 days in prison.

He had told the court he had planned to pay the fine after his trip to Blackpool but by then it was too late.

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) acting chief operations officer David Fraser said: “You should pay any outstanding fines you have before booking a holiday or you may find that your plans are ruined.

“It is just not worth the risk. Anyone who has genuine difficulty paying a fine can contact our fines enforcement officers to discuss payment terms.”

A report on court fines, released yesterday, revealed that a new automated phone line which was launched in June collected more than £125,000 of fines in its first eight weeks.

The Quarterly Fines Report also reveals that over the last three years, almost half a million fines enforcement orders had been granted by courts across Scotland – with a combined value of £37 million.

While 84.5 per cent of these have been paid, the total sum of fines in arrears amounts to £4.2m.

Most of the money collected through fines payment is sent to the UK Treasury under devolution arrangements set up within the Scotland Act 1998.

All offenders are sent warning letters and given the opportunity to speak to fines enforcement officers before action is taken.

The SCTS also collects unpaid fines by deducting money directly from wages, bank accounts or benefits – and even clamping cars.

Fines Enforcement Officers have agreed revised payment terms in 131,540 accounts to help people keep track of their arrears.

More than 134,340 benefit deduction orders have been granted, and 26,960 earnings arrestment orders have been issued.

Where people are unable to pay, courts have imposed supervised attendance orders on 2992 people as an alternative punishment.

In total, more than 134,340 benefit deduction orders have been granted, and 26,960 earnings arrestment orders have been made.

In 2014/2015, just 61 per cent of police antisocial behaviour fixed penalty fines were fully paid.

The total value of all fines issued in that period amounted to £13m.

Where people are unable to pay, courts have imposed supervised attendance orders on 2992 people as an alternative punishment.

Court-imposed fines as well as most penalties issued by the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service can be paid by phoning 0300 790 0003.

Police-issued penalties or those requiring endorsement of a driving record cannot be paid using the new system.