Dad hounded by debt collectors after driving in bus lane 7 months ago

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A father has been hounded by debt collectors after a council mistakenly sent him two fines for the same driving misdemeanour.

Paul Foulkes, 38, followed his sat nav through Manchester city centre during a family trip but it took him through a bus lane monitored by cameras. The businessman drove through it again on leaving the car park but he was unaware he had committed a traffic violation for several months.

The dad-of-one received a letter from debt collectors in June this year – some seven months after the misdemeanour.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, the motorist said: “I was completely baffled.

“They said we had seven days to pay, otherwise we would get the bailiffs. We tracked it down to Salford Council and they sent me the violation and I held my hands up.

“I was happy to pay the fine, but asked if they could call off the wolves, so to speak. They would not tell me why the original fine had not reached me.

“I checked with the DVLA, my address was correct. I had moved in June 2021, but I certainly changed that before this all happened.”

In total, Paul was being told to pay £174. Fearing a visit from the bailiffs, he paid up.

Paul, from Morecambe, Lancashire, thought this had closed the ordeal — and put it down as an expensive mistake. However, it was only the start of another saga.

“We paid on a portal online and it said I had nothing left to pay,” the father continued.

“Then, on Saturday (September 17) I got another letter for £174 and again, seven days to pay it.

“That appears to be because I was caught driving in and out of the car park through the bus lane, and that’s two separate offences. They did not tell me about this with the first offence.

“It’s £348. Okay, we did it – but it’s criminal. We are a young family. It tarnished our time in Manchester.

“Never once did they say ‘you are going to have two of these’. I put it to bed and took one for the team and paid. It’s such a shame. We loved the event.”

Paul had visited Manchester with his wife Rebecca and their daughter to see a Disney On Ice show in November.

He had booked car parking in advance but wasn’t made aware of the bus lane adjacent to the building.

But since the hounding by the debt collectors, Labour stronghold Salford City Council has acknowledged it made an error and apologised.

Paul is set to get £318 back as a refund.

A spokesperson said: “Due to an error by enforcement agents acting on behalf of the council a second fine was sent out. This should not have happened. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience and stress and as a result a refund of £318 has been authorised.

“It is vitally important that the registered keeper of a vehicle notifies the DVLA when they change address. People can receive up to a £1,000 fine (issued by the DVLA) if they do not tell the DVLA when their address changes.”

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