Farnworth great-grandmother threatened by bailiffs over parking fine error

The Bolton News: Winifred Smith with one of the letters Winifred Smith with one of the letters

THE family of an 87-year-old great-grandmother says her life has been made a misery after she was sent letters from bailiffs demanding payment for a fine that is not hers.

Winifred Smith, from Farnworth, has received numerous solicitors’ letters, addressed to a Steven Greenhalgh, saying she owed money from an outstanding parking fine in April 2013.

Her family say they returned all the letters to Bolton Council which issued the fine but they kept coming — and a bailiff even turned up demanding payment of £307.84.

Grand-daughter Kelly Jenkins said fortunately Mrs Smith’s carer was home at the time, but as a consequence of the visit she has been left frightened in her own home.

Ms Jenkins said: “It’s horrendous that they can behave in this manner.

“She’s absolutely distraught, and terrified they’re going to come back.

“She’s lived in that house for 30 years. It’s beyond belief. She uses a stairlift — she can’t even walk, let alone drive a car.

“Nobody seems to be apologetic, there’s no admittance from anybody.” Mrs Smith, from Farnworth, who has lived alone since she lost her husband Norman more than 10 years ago, said she was very upset about the whole incident.

She added: “I don’t even know who this Steven Greenhalgh is.

“I’ve never had any trouble with anybody and to get letters like that, it’s dreadful.”

A council spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear of any distress suffered by this lady.

“In April 2013, we issued a parking fine to an individual and sent a number of letters to the address provided by him, which unfortunately does not seem to have been the correct address.

“If we receive a response to our letters, or letters are returned as not known at this address, we will immediately stop pursuing a fine and investigate.

"However, we did not receive a response to any of these letters and none of the letters were returned to us, so in January 2014, we passed the case to our bailiffs.

“As this lady has now advised us that the individual does not live at this address, we have been assured that the bailiffs will make no further contact with her.”

Comments (15)

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1:58pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Jim271 says...

Its the council as usual attacking the vunerable whilst allowing business and certain groups get away with murder,
Its the council as usual attacking the vunerable whilst allowing business and certain groups get away with murder, Jim271
  • Score: 20

2:41pm Tue 4 Mar 14

wsw69 says...

Wouldn't you think the greatly inept council would check the electoral register to see if a Steven Greenhalgh lived at that address, prior to sending out any letter, let alone thicko bailiffs?

But then again, Bolton Council is operated by a collective of useless, dimwit thickos themselves, so no I really shouldn't think the above. :-)
Wouldn't you think the greatly inept council would check the electoral register to see if a Steven Greenhalgh lived at that address, prior to sending out any letter, let alone thicko bailiffs? But then again, Bolton Council is operated by a collective of useless, dimwit thickos themselves, so no I really shouldn't think the above. :-) wsw69
  • Score: 38

2:46pm Tue 4 Mar 14

TheBoltonByrd says...

Methinks there was a bit too much personal info regarding this vulnerable lady!
Methinks there was a bit too much personal info regarding this vulnerable lady! TheBoltonByrd
  • Score: 20

2:59pm Tue 4 Mar 14

goldie47 says...

bully boy tactics once again by council plebs....vote them out in your ward at the next elections
bully boy tactics once again by council plebs....vote them out in your ward at the next elections goldie47
  • Score: 16

4:43pm Tue 4 Mar 14

gladrill says...

Disgusting heavy handedness again from Bolton council. It is time we had a change.
Disgusting heavy handedness again from Bolton council. It is time we had a change. gladrill
  • Score: 6

5:17pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Cakelly says...

I would have thought that seeing as these letters were addressed to someon who didn't actually live at the address, that they should have been' returned to sender' instead of being illegally opened by someone they weren't actually addressed to! Therefore saving all the distress!
I would have thought that seeing as these letters were addressed to someon who didn't actually live at the address, that they should have been' returned to sender' instead of being illegally opened by someone they weren't actually addressed to! Therefore saving all the distress! Cakelly
  • Score: -1

6:46pm Tue 4 Mar 14

aardwolf says...

Quote: "Her family say they returned all the letters to Bolton Council "
Photo caption: "Winifred Smith with one of the letters "
oops.
Quote: "Her family say they returned all the letters to Bolton Council " Photo caption: "Winifred Smith with one of the letters " oops. aardwolf
  • Score: -3

1:42am Wed 5 Mar 14

ARBEE says...

One would think that those responsable for this farce would send this dear old lady a bunch of flowers along with their apologies.
One would think that those responsable for this farce would send this dear old lady a bunch of flowers along with their apologies. ARBEE
  • Score: 1

8:01am Wed 5 Mar 14

Mick England says...

Just revoke the bailiffs "implied right of access" then if they come again she can phone the police who will remove the interlopers. Simples!!
Just revoke the bailiffs "implied right of access" then if they come again she can phone the police who will remove the interlopers. Simples!! Mick England
  • Score: 5

7:31pm Wed 5 Mar 14

JustBecause says...

What a load of nonsense, clearly opening mail not addressed to you is wrong, secondly, a conversation with the bailiffs would have seen them say goodbye in about 20 seconds.

Another co lets none story, or an attempt a trying to cash in on the issue.

Grow up, lady, its not the councils problem, they were furnished with the wrong info and acted accordingly.

Would like to see you if you had a real problem.
What a load of nonsense, clearly opening mail not addressed to you is wrong, secondly, a conversation with the bailiffs would have seen them say goodbye in about 20 seconds. Another co lets none story, or an attempt a trying to cash in on the issue. Grow up, lady, its not the councils problem, they were furnished with the wrong info and acted accordingly. Would like to see you if you had a real problem. JustBecause
  • Score: -2

7:35pm Wed 5 Mar 14

JustBecause says...

BN I am sick of your sensationalism story lines,.

Your journalism, Is quite frankly a joke, this is from a long list of headlines that are either factually incorrect, or just simply wrong.

What threat did the bailiff make ??
BN I am sick of your sensationalism story lines,. Your journalism, Is quite frankly a joke, this is from a long list of headlines that are either factually incorrect, or just simply wrong. What threat did the bailiff make ?? JustBecause
  • Score: -1

11:51pm Wed 5 Mar 14

wsw69 says...

Mick England wrote:
Just revoke the bailiffs "implied right of access" then if they come again she can phone the police who will remove the interlopers. Simples!!
Having been chased by the TV Licensing people for over 6 years after I moved house 10 years ago, the only thing that stopped them from keep writing multiple times a month and having their 'officers' knocking at my door many times a month was a very strongly worded letter from myself laying down that I had removed implied rights of access. It worked perfectly.

This elderly lady and her family most likely wouldn't be aware of implied rights of access, as are most of the populous are not.
[quote][p][bold]Mick England[/bold] wrote: Just revoke the bailiffs "implied right of access" then if they come again she can phone the police who will remove the interlopers. Simples!![/p][/quote]Having been chased by the TV Licensing people for over 6 years after I moved house 10 years ago, the only thing that stopped them from keep writing multiple times a month and having their 'officers' knocking at my door many times a month was a very strongly worded letter from myself laying down that I had removed implied rights of access. It worked perfectly. This elderly lady and her family most likely wouldn't be aware of implied rights of access, as are most of the populous are not. wsw69
  • Score: 1

5:15pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Kelly_Bolton says...

aardwolf wrote:
Quote: "Her family say they returned all the letters to Bolton Council "
Photo caption: "Winifred Smith with one of the letters "
oops.
I think you'll actually see that the letter she is holding is from the balliffs so no oops as you quote
[quote][p][bold]aardwolf[/bold] wrote: Quote: "Her family say they returned all the letters to Bolton Council " Photo caption: "Winifred Smith with one of the letters " oops.[/p][/quote]I think you'll actually see that the letter she is holding is from the balliffs so no oops as you quote Kelly_Bolton
  • Score: 0

5:19pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Kelly_Bolton says...

Cakelly wrote:
I would have thought that seeing as these letters were addressed to someon who didn't actually live at the address, that they should have been' returned to sender' instead of being illegally opened by someone they weren't actually addressed to! Therefore saving all the distress!
I'm sure the article actually says all previous letters were returned to sender and the letter she is pictured with is a balliff letter which I can only presume was hand delivered at the time of the balliffs going to the address?
[quote][p][bold]Cakelly[/bold] wrote: I would have thought that seeing as these letters were addressed to someon who didn't actually live at the address, that they should have been' returned to sender' instead of being illegally opened by someone they weren't actually addressed to! Therefore saving all the distress![/p][/quote]I'm sure the article actually says all previous letters were returned to sender and the letter she is pictured with is a balliff letter which I can only presume was hand delivered at the time of the balliffs going to the address? Kelly_Bolton
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Kelly_Bolton says...

I think the council are lazy they could easily have checked their systems to see who lives at the address and seeing as this is an elderly lady with a carer I'm sure they are too funded through the council. Lazy and incompetent but that's no shock Bolton council are horrendous to deal with from personal experience. I hope she gets the apology she rightly deserves and is no longer fearful.
I think the council are lazy they could easily have checked their systems to see who lives at the address and seeing as this is an elderly lady with a carer I'm sure they are too funded through the council. Lazy and incompetent but that's no shock Bolton council are horrendous to deal with from personal experience. I hope she gets the apology she rightly deserves and is no longer fearful. Kelly_Bolton
  • Score: 0

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