North West courts owed £90m in unpaid fines

By Leila Nathoo
BBC News

Image caption,
More than £90m in fine orders have gone ignored, figures show

Courts across north-west England are owed more than £90m in unpaid fines, figures have shown.

The amount includes fines, compensation, court costs and victims' surcharge, some of which date as far back as ten years ago.

Greater Manchester has the largest outstanding balance in the region at £33.1m.

HM Courts Service (HMCS) said they are developing a new enforcement strategy and the issue is a national priority.

Courts in Merseyside are owed nearly £29m while Lancashire still needs to collect £13m.

Cheshire and Cumbria together are owed almost £15m.

'Continued priority'

The figures, seen by BBC Radio Manchester, show that £53.7m of fines were imposed in north-west England in 2009/10.

A recent report by the National Audit Office put the total outstanding amount for England and Wales at £1.33bn in 2008-09, of which 34% is considered recoverable by the Ministry of Justice.

An HMCS spokesperson said: "The government takes the issue of fine enforcement very seriously and HMCS is working to ensure clamping down on fine dodgers is a continued priority nationwide."

HMCS said they were implementing a new enforcement programme, targeting problem areas and persistent defaulters and have introduced 24/7 payment channels.

The Treasury said fine enforcement schemes will come under scrutiny in the government spending review.

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