Disabled St Albans pensioner’s fury over ‘aggressive’ bailiffs

Barbara and Anthony Attrill feel they were badly treated by bailiffs when they came to collect money

Barbara and Anthony Attrill feel they were badly treated by bailiffs when they came to collect money for an unpaid parking ticket - Credit: Archant

A disabled pensioner has hit out at the way she was treated after forgetting to pay a parking ticket, which ended in bailiffs storming her house.

Barbara Attrill, 67, of Marshalswick, suffers from ME – otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome – and diabetes, as well as other health issues.

Back in December 2013, she was out shopping in St Albans with her 70-year-old husband Anthony, a retired Herts Police officer, when she decided to pop into Marks and Spencer.

Her husband waited in the car behind the store in Drovers Way, but when she felt faint and he was called inside by a member of staff, he rushed to her aid, leaving the car unattended.

Barbara said: “Obviously he knows I’m not well so he came inside to see if I was alright but when we got back to the car there was a traffic warden writing us a ticket.”

She said that as she has been so ill over the past few years, they didn’t appeal the decision or pay the fine.

She went on: “The other morning my husband opened the door to two bailiffs about 6ft tall and 5ft wide who pushed their way in and started taking an itinerary of all our goods.

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“One of them actually grabbed hold of my arm so hard that I could have been severely bruised and pushed me.

“We tried to reason with them but they wouldn’t have any of it. To be honest they just didn’t seem to care and they wouldn’t leave.

“I said I would make an offer of a payment of £20 a week but they wanted £422 so my husband had to ring his son up to borrow the money as it’s more than we get a week as our pension and my disability allowance.

“I couldn’t believe they wanted that much for a parking ticket!”

She added that she was really “upset and mortified” by what happened, which she said saw her “manhandled in the process”.

“It is going to take me ages to get over it and I’ve been thinking about the council hiring thugs who come round to intimidate people to get money out of them.

“They were very aggressive, intimidating and frightening and I don’t think that anybody should have to put up with that.”

A spokesman for Herts Police confirmed that officers were investigating the alleged assault.

St Albans council’s head of legal services, Mike Lovelady, said: “Civil enforcement officers are required to issue a penalty charge notice (PCN) when, as in this case, an unattended vehicle is parked outside a permitted parking area without displaying a blue badge.”

He added the owner was then sent a further five documents over at least 10 months giving them first the opportunity to appeal and then to pay the fine.

Addressing the alleged assault, he said: “Bailiffs working on behalf of the council are certified by the courts and are expected to behave courteously.

“In this case, the council has reviewed video evidence from the bailiffs’ body camera which suggests that they both behaved properly during their visit.”