FINE dodgers in Huddersfield got a wake-up call from police and court enforcement officers in a major crackdown.
About 200 properties were visited yesterday by HM Court Service (HMCS), with police back-up in an operation to recover more than £22,000 in unpaid court penalties.
About £5,000 was paid on the spot.
Twenty-five people who did not pay were arrested and taken straight to Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court, where a special court was in session to deal with unpaid fines.
Two of those who had repeatedly failed to pay went straight to prison.
HMCS operations team manager Julie Robinson said: "It was a really positive day. It’s all about letting people know they can’t get away with not paying their fines."
Among those who received visits yesterday were people who had been fined for driving offences, not having a TV licence and breaching community orders.
Glen Hanson, of Lime Street in Lockwood(NOT Crosland Moor as in pic caption), was taken to court after he answered his door to officers at about 10am.
The court heard the 54-year-old owed more than £2,000 for vehicle and waste management offences going back as far as July 2006.
The list included driving without a proper licence, not having an MOT certificate, failing to surrender a void excise licence and not having a valid operator’s licence for a heavy vehicle.
Unemployed Hanson promised to pay £500 within three weeks.
He was told by chairman of the bench Christine Mills that he would have to return to court in 21 days, when he would have to reach an agreement with the court about how he would pay the rest.
Mrs Mills told Hanson: "You know what happens to people who don’t pay their fines – you might come into court through the front door but you could well end up going out through the door to the cells.
"If you don’t bring a plan with you in 21 days about how you’re going to pay, you might as well bring your toothbrush because you probably won’t be going home."
Yesterday’s crackdown was part of a week-long blitz on more than 2,000 houses across West Yorkshire.
Maureen Holmes, group court manager for HMCS in West Yorkshire, said: "This campaign sends out a strong message to offenders that we are serious about enforcing court decisions.
"It is important for the public to have confidence in the criminal justice system, knowing that those who break the law will be accountable.
"We have been running special operations for some time now tackling those who have outstanding court fines and showing no willingness to pay.
"Operations like this really bring in the money."
Insp Terry Murgatroyd from West Yorkshire Police’s operations support division said: "These days of action by the police and HMCS ensure that fines are paid and justice is served.
"The presence that will be felt in local communities because of this operation should reassure the public that we take these issues seriously."