Northampton mother-of-two slams 'sneaky' council over bus lane fine as bailiffs threaten to take action

"I'm angry. The way the council has done the bus lane is sneaky. I'm angry I'm getting this threatening letter for something that is not my fault. I'm angry it's got this far."

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 10:30 am

A Northampton mother has slammed the council as 'sneaky' after she received a letter in the post from 'aggressive' bailiffs following a bus lane incident she knows 'nothing about'.

Lisa Pickering, 40, appealed for help on Spotted:Northamptonshire on Monday night (September 13) after receiving a letter from debt collecting company Newlyn PLC, based in the town's Clarke Road, saying she owes Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) £178 - despite NCC no longer existing.

The letter, issued on September 2, says the mother-of-two was illegally driving in a bus lane on February 23 and that she has not paid money she owes in fines.

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Lisa Pickering with her bailiff notice of enforcement. Photo: Leila Coker

Lisa says she does not remember driving in any bus lane and is now trying to get the original evidence of her error from West Northamptonshire Council (WNC).

The council has been asked by this newspaper which bus lane Lisa was caught driving in, specifically if it was the controversial Weedon Road bus lane near Westbridge Garage.

Lisa said: "I have no idea where the letter has come from. It's the only correspondence I have had from anyone.

"The letter says I've been in a bus lane. If I had a bus ticket I would have paid it.

"All I want is proof I was in there. The council has obviously messed up.

"I just think it's awful. Some people will just phone up and pay the fine to the bailiffs because they panic. But I'm not like that."

The Brackmills worker has pinned the blame on WNC and is now wanting answers from the authority.

Lisa said: "I'm angry. The way the council has done the bus lane is sneaky. I'm angry I'm getting this threatening letter for something that is not my fault. I'm angry it's got this far.

"It's the council that needs to rectify this. I tried to call them all day yesterday but I was left on hold for 15 minutes twice and being passed through departments. I went on the website and left them two messages but no one has got back to me."

And now, due to the lack of response and escalating circumstances, Lisa is worried she will have "aggressive" bailiffs at her door in front of her 11-year-old daughter.

She added: "I don't want them to come to my door threatening to take whatever."

Newlyn PLC has been made aware of Lisa's claims of innocence and has been asked for comment.

The Chron reported back in July that motorists were sharing carbon copy complaints saying that they were caught driving in the Weedon Road bus lane on February 20 and 21 of this year, but they said they did not receive the first letter from the council which allows them to pay a fine of £60 reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Instead, the motorists received a second letter months later saying that they had not paid the first fine and must now cough up £98 or face legal action.

In light of this information, WNC has been asked:

Is Lisa's bailiff notice a result of the council and Royal Mail not delivering her fine letters to her?

Can the council categorically confirm Lisa was sent the correct fine letters for driving in the Weedon Road bus lane? If so, what dates were they sent?

A spokesperson from West Northamptonshire Council said: “Any motorist who has received communication from enforcement agents in respect of a parking or bus lane penalty charge notice should contact the traffic enforcement centre directly to see if they can apply to file an ‘out of time’ witness statement/statutory declaration.

"All cases will continue to progress unless an application is received and at that point, the council decides based on the individual case whether it accepts or contests the application.

"It is important however, to note that once a case reaches this stage, three statutory notices have already been sent to the address provided by the DVLA.”

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