Mum on Universal Credit ‘bullied’ as bailiffs demand £400 over seaside parking dispute


A mother said she was intimidated when a bailiff showed up on her doorstep demanding £400 following a parking dispute with a council following a seaside trip. Jemma Martin, 31, is a working mother at Universal Credit and said she felt threatened during the incident.

The single mother, Miss Martin, 31, had traveled to Skegness on the Bank Holiday last August for a day out with her then partner and her children, who were then aged four and 18 months, LincolnshireLive reports. But when they arrived they couldn’t open the car doors properly to get the kids and a stroller in and out.

Because there were no parking spaces for parents and children, Miss Martin, of Beechdale, Nottingham, parked slightly above the white line to create space. She then received a parking ticket, which she has since contested with East Lindsey District Council.

And on the morning of April 4, 2022, Miss Martin was confronted with a visit from the bailiffs.

“I had the bailiff at my door asking for £394,” she said. “But I was not financially able to afford that.”

When Miss Martin told the debt collector she couldn’t pay, he allegedly threatened to take her car, but couldn’t because it was financed. He then made another threat, according to Miss Martin, to enter her house.

“I was very intimidated, he was a big guy,” she said. On a form the debt collector left, it said Miss Martin had paid voluntarily, but she said she had paid because she felt ‘threatened’.

She said, “I’m five foot two, what can I do?” She called what happened “shameful”.

Miss Martin works two hours a day as a midday supervisor at a local school, and the rest of her salary is supplemented by Universal Credit payments. Her ex-partner who was with her at the time of the parking fine is no longer with her, so she worries about how she will pay the fine.

“£400 is a big part of my monthly allowance, it’s about half that,” she said. “I have my mother who I can count on, but it’s to borrow, not to have.

“I’m going to have to pay it back, so it’s going to be a while before I’m on top.”

A spokesman for East Lindsey District Council said: “Following due process, the lady in question has been written four times and no response has been received to these communications. Following this lack of response, the matter was referred to the bailiffs who again wrote to the lady twice and no response was received to these letters.

“As is normal in these cases, the lady was visited by bailiffs and this prompted a complaint to the bailiff company which will be investigated by them using their internal procedures.” Bristow and Sutor have been approached for comment.


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