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Kent man who has never been to Ilford says he was doorstepped by ‘threatening’ Redbridge Council bailiff

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 April 2013

Michael Atkins with his letters from Redbrige Council and Equita bailiffs.

Michael Atkins with his letters from Redbrige Council and Equita bailiffs.

Archant

A Kent man who has never set foot in Ilford, says he was doorstepped by a “threatening” Redbridge Council bailiff over a parking offence he did not commit.

Michael Atkins, 42, sold his car in October to a dealership in Portsmouth and more than a month later, the vehicle was ticketed for being parked in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, with “one or more wheels on a footpath”.

Mr Atkins, of Folkestone, was shocked to arrive home from holiday in January to several letters from the council and emailed them immediately to rectify the mistake. But he says that, without warning, a bailiff visited earlier this month.

On April 11, the man from debt recovery firm Equita called at Mr Atkins’ home when he was absent and left his wife paperwork saying their car could be impounded.

When Mr Atkins called the bailiff later in the day, he said the man was “unprofessional, rude and threatening”.

Mr Atkins said: “Every time I tried to say anything he talked over me and he said: ‘I’m going to come around your house any time of day or night and I’ll smash the door down and smash the windows if I have to’.”

Mr Atkins called Kent Police after the incident, which left his family terrified. “My wife has been a prisoner in her home for a week with my boy because she was petrified of this guy coming to the door,” he said.

Mr Atkins plans to take his case to the ombudsman, although he did not pay any fines.

A council spokesman said debt recovery was stopped when confirmation of the sale was received and Mr Atkins’ claims about the bailiff’s behaviour will be investigated.

Last month, the Local Government Ombudsman ordered the council to review its use of bailiffs after a woman had her car clamped and was forced to pay almost £1,000 in fees because of an administrative error. The watchdog found the council had “blamed” the driver for its failure to check information.


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