Debt Collectors pursuing Halton General Hospital visitors.

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Halton General Hospital

Halton General Hospital

Debt demands in the post asking the sick and stressed to cough up £149.99.

A debt recovery firm has threatened court action against visitors of Halton and Warrington hospitals if they do not pay their parking fines.

Residents including a member of staff and the wife of a patient who had suffered a stroke received demands in the post of £149.99, covering the £75 fixed penalty notice in relation to parking and the rest to cover the agency Debt Recovery Plus’s (DRP) fees.

Patricia Biesty, who had been visiting her sick spouse received her fine and debt demand after she had driven around for 25 minutes trying to find a parking space only to have to leave for ‘fear’ of being fined.

The threat of court action is the latest twist in a situation that has been roundly slammed by councillors, an MP, residents, patients, a social justice rights group and visitors of the hospital.

Cllr Dave Thompson, Halton Lea ward, Labour, claims that ‘Debt Recovery Plus’ is not appointed by a court and has no right to remove property and he claims they are not bailiffs.

On the ‘Scrap Parking Penalties At Warrington And Halton Hospitals’ Facebook campaign page, fixed penalty notice recipient Dave Leckenby said he had asked for proof of parking but that that car park management firm Highview was unable to provide photographic evidence.

Cllr Thompson urged residents to follow these tips about what debt recovery firms are permitted to do.

He said: “They must tell you when they plan to visit, should they get enough work around Halton and Warrington to consider a trip up North to do the rounds. They can only phone, write or visit to discuss paying the ‘alleged’ debt. They cannot pester you repeatedly or during unsociable hours.”

On the anti-fines Facebook page, Ashleah Russell said:

“I just received a £149.99 fine myself for not paying, when being a member of staff – for six years – my parking comes out of my wages!”

For further information visit www.liverpoolecho.co.uk.

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