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Bailiffs make driver pay £500 fine after number plate mix-up

Steven Ward, 41, was threatened by bailiffs when a W on his car registration was mistaken for another letter.

Steven Ward, 41, was hit with the penalty despite telling bailiffs there had been a mix-up with his number plate. (SWNS)
Steven Ward, 41, was hit with the penalty despite telling bailiffs there had been a mix-up with his number plate. (SWNS)

A driver was forced to pay a £500 fine by bailiffs after a W on his car registration was mistaken for another letter.

Steven Ward, 41, was hit with the penalty despite telling enforcement workers from CDER Group there had been a mix-up.

He was previously sent a CCTV image of a Vauxhall Corsa - with plates ending in either AMO or AHO - but he actually drives a red Peugeot 206 with the number plate AWO.

Steven, from Oldham, said: "It's just not right. I had no choice [but to pay].

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He had been fined and sent a CCTV image of a Vauxhall Corsa which wasn't his. (SWNS)
He had been fined and sent a CCTV image of a Vauxhall Corsa which wasn't his. (SWNS)

"It was awful and so degrading, having all the neighbours seeing two people coming to take money I really didn’t owe.

"I’m not at all happy."

HGV driver Steven first received a letter from Birmingham City Council in June last year, asking him to pay an £86 clean air zone fine.

He phoned up and sent evidence that his vehicle had been in Oldham - not Birmingham - at the time of the alleged offence.

He says he heard nothing back - so thought the matter was closed.

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But Steven got a second letter in December - this time from CDER Group - asking for more money.

The letter said it was an extended penalty notice.

Steven then called up and was sent a CCTV image of a Vauxhall Corsa - with plates ending in either AMO or AHO.

He sent back a picture of his car, a red Peugeot 206 - with the number plate AWO.

He says he pointed out the error and claims he was told no further action would be taken.

Steven Ward has since got his money back from the debt collectors. (SWNS)
Steven Ward has since got his money back from the debt collectors. (SWNS)

Steven was then shocked when the bailiffs came to his door at 9am on 13 January - asking for £499.

He claims he was told he had to pay or his second car - a blue Vauxhall Astra - would be taken away within the hour.

The bailiffs also said they’d also take a red and black Citreon belonging to his partner.

Steven added: “They said there was nothing they can do because it’s gone through court. I couldn’t let them take that Astra because it’s precious to me."

Steven has since been refunded and a screenshot of his bank account showed a payment of £499 from CDER Group on 26 January.

Birmingham City Council said: "ANPR cameras provide a high level of accuracy when capturing vehicle registration numbers, however, misreads do occur on occasions due to dirty, damaged or altered number plates or position of number plate fixings, therefore there are contributory facts that can lead to a possible misread.

It added: "In cases where a vehicle registration number has possibly been misread, motorists should follow the statutory process to allow an investigation to be conducted and if confirmed, the case is cancelled."