CRIME victims are to get a multi-million-pound boost from offenders.
The Government brought in a new fine surcharge system a few days ago - but few people seem to know about it.
Now, Huddersfield magistrates have given the Examiner an exclusive insight into how the system will work.
And it means that services for victims of crime and witnesses are set to get a huge cash injection over the months and years to come because hundreds of people are fined at magistrates' courts nationwide each day.
Anyone who has committed an offence since the beginning of this month will be given an automatic fine surcharge of £15, on top of any fine they are given in court.
It is thought the system will be expanded to include on-the-spot fines.
The surcharge now only applies to court fines, not any other punishments, such as unpaid work and other community sentences or jail.
Huddersfield magistrates' chairman Eileen Marchant said people who failed to pay fixed-penalty notices would also have to pay the surcharge if they were summonsed to appear before the Huddersfield Bench to be fined.
Some magistrates in other parts of the country have already rebelled against the system, saying the fines will hit the poorest hardest.
Three magistrates in Cambridge refused to levy the fine on a young man convicted of cannabis possession at the end of last week - but could now find themselves in trouble.
A spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office said: "To refuse to obey or enforce any relevant law would be incompatible with holding judicial office."
Ms Marchant said the surcharge would always be levied in Huddersfield.
"Magistrates take a judicial oath to uphold the law. We can't pick and choose what we like or don't like," she said.
Her understanding was that the extra money would pay for posts for Victim Support.
This charity helps victims of crime from when the offence happened right through to them going to court as witnesses.
Ms Marchant added:
"Anything which helps victims can't be a bad thing, especially if there are more people to support them."
Magistrates can only fine people what they can afford to pay within a year after all their outgoings have been taken into consideration.
In reality, it is thought the fine surcharge will take precedence.
So although some fines may end up being a similar amount, at least £15 of it will be going to help victims directly rather than disappearing into Treasury coffers. Other offenders will simply have to pay more.
But Paul Fawcett, of Victim Support, said he had mixed feelings on the levy.
He said: "If you're going to have a system where criminals are punished financially it makes sense that this goes to victims of crime.
"But the Government should be able to find the funds for victims, come what may."