Edinburgh cars clamped over unpaid traffic fines

Three vehicles have been clamped. Picture: Scottish Courts

Three vehicles have been clamped. Picture: Scottish Courts

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THREE fine-dodgers from the Lothians have had their vehicles clamped after they repeatedly failed to pay outstanding charges for motoring offences.

The trio from the Edinburgh area – who cannot be named for legal reasons – were given fines at the city’s Sheriff Court for offences including driving with no insurance, driving through a red light, speeding and driving without valid road tax.

Their vehicles were clamped only after they failed to pay, ignoring warning letters and all attempts to contact them by enforcement officers.

One offender has now paid up a £150 fine, while the other vehicles will go into storage until the fines for £320 and £450 are paid.

Their owners will also have to pay for clamp removal plus storage costs before the vehicles are released to them. Clamping is one of a number of measures available to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) for recovering unpaid fines.

The courts also have powers to freeze bank accounts and take money directly from earnings or benefits, while fine-dodgers can be arrested travelling through ports and airports. A new report released by SCTS today also revealed the fines collection rate remains “consistently strong”.

It showed that 87 per cent of the value of sheriff court fines imposed between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2015, has either been fully paid or is on track to be paid through instalments.

The quarterly fines report also includes the reporting of Community Payback Orders (CPOs) for the first time. CPOs are made as an alternative to imprisonment if the offender defaults on payment of a fine.

A total of 4346 CPOs have been issued since April 1, 2012, where people were unable to pay, with 377 of them imposed within the three months to April 11, 2016.

SCTS chief operations officer David Fraser said: “The fines enforcement team continue to be highly effective in securing unpaid fines – ignoring your fine and not speaking to an enforcement officer if you are having difficulty paying is very unwise.

“Failure to pay, or to engage with our officers, will result in strong sanctions being taken including arrestment [freezing] of wages or bank accounts, your car being clamped or inconvenience and embarrassment by being arrested when travelling abroad.”

All defaulters are issued warnings before action is taken and those in genuine financial difficulty can speak to enforcement officers to discuss payment terms.