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Grandmother’s bailiff nightmare after criminals clone her number plate and get bus lane fine

PUBLISHED: 08:38 22 February 2019

Robin Pearce, 62 from Wymondham, recieved a fine for a vehicle with an identical number plate to his. Photo: Submitted

Robin Pearce, 62 from Wymondham, recieved a fine for a vehicle with an identical number plate to his. Photo: Submitted

Archant

A Norfolk couple said they are at their wits end after ‘intimidating and nasty’ bailiffs turned up at their home to recover fines incurred after their number plates were cloned.

The black car caught driving in a Birmingham bus lane which Mr Pearce was fined for, despite never having seen the car before. Photo: SubmittedThe black car caught driving in a Birmingham bus lane which Mr Pearce was fined for, despite never having seen the car before. Photo: Submitted

Last May, 62-year-old Robin Pearce from Wymondham received a fine from Birmingham City Council for driving illegally in a bus lane, with an attached photograph of a black car carrying his number plate.

Mr Pearce and wife Christine Pearce said they were bemused as they own an aqua-blue Renault and have never been to Birmingham, so reported their number plate had been cloned to police.

A marker for the plate was put on the police national computer and satisfied the issue had been resolved, the couple contacted Birmingham City Council with the update.

However, the council said the couple did not provide it with sufficient evidence of the fraud and in November 2018, a bailiff from Jacobs Enforcement arrived at the house and informed Mrs Pearce he was there to repossess items in payment of the fine.

Mr and Mrs Pearce's aquamarine car looks very different to the black vehicle caught driving in a bus lane in Birmingham. Photo: SubmittedMr and Mrs Pearce's aquamarine car looks very different to the black vehicle caught driving in a bus lane in Birmingham. Photo: Submitted

Horrified, the 65-year-old refused him entry and attempted to explain the situation.

She said: “The bailiff wouldn’t listen to reason and told me there was nothing police could do to help us.

“He was incredibly aggressive and nasty and obviously trying to intimidate me, knowing I was alone in the house. I don’t understand why they think they have the right to try and scare people like that.”

The shaken grandmother reported the incident to police who told her not to open the door to him if he returned and to call them immediately.

However, the couple was also told that in order to revoke the fine they needed to contact the Traffic Enforcement Centre for an independent adjudication and Birmingham City Council said there was no guarantee bailiffs would not return while the case was investigated.

Mrs Pearce said: “It’s just a waiting game now and I am constantly anxious they will turn up. Nobody is interested in investigating our stolen number plate and the entire thing feels completely wrong.”

Jacob’s Enforcement was contacted but refused to comment.

What to do if your number plate is cloned

Recent police figures show the number of crimes relating to cloned or false number plates have risen by up to 179pc from 2016 – 2017 in some regions of the UK.

Cloning involves copying the identity of a vehicle already on the road and many motorists only realise they have been victim to the scam when they receive fines incurred under the cloned plate.

When this happens it becomes the responsibility of the vehicle owner to prove their innocence and police said it was important to contact them immediately.

Drivers who think their plates have been cloned should also write to DVLA and send their response, along with their police crime reference number, to the fine issuer.

Other useful evidence could include photos of your car and number plate showing small differences between it and the other vehicle and CCTV evidence to prove that your car was elsewhere at the time of the alleged offence.

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