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Byline: Sophie Marsden; Chris Henwood

FINE dodgers were led from their homes in disgrace after being targeted in a crackdown on crooks who laugh at the law.

The raids, which took place yesterday, were part of the latest phase of an operation focused on those who refuse to pay fines handed down by Birmingham's courts.

The eight-day blitz raked in around pounds 45,000 and saw some non-payers taken to a mobile cell set up on a Tesco store supermarket at New Oscott, near Sutton Coldfield, before they were taken back to court.

Others paid up on the spot while those who were out were left a message which read: "A warrant has been issued for your arrest."

Sgt Helen Carver, who oversaw the operation, said: "Some people hold their hands up and come in - they take it on the chin and admit they ignored letters and previous warnings. But these are criminals and some decide to play ignorant." Peter Wood, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service regional enforcement operations manager, said around pounds 500,000 had been recovered with two other similar operations earlier this year.

"This is about actually getting out the message that if people have got court orders then the legal process will catch up with them," he said.

Around 80 police officers and 34 Courts and Tribunals Service officers took part in the operation, which was based at four different locations across the city with two days spent at each site.

Offences committed by those who were 'doorstepped' ranged from TV licence fee and council tax avoidance, to fraud, theft and even violent crimes.

A 54-year-old Hawkesley woman was picked up for failing to pay a pounds 1,800 fine for not having a TV licence and dangerous dogs offences. And a 26-year-old man, from Northfield, was taken away for not paying a pounds 120 fine for harassment.


Raids: Sgt Helen Carver. No hiding place: Officers from HMRC and West Midlands Police on a round-up of outstanding warrants in the north of Birmingham.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 22, 2011
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