DRIVERS who persistently fail to pay fines will see their vehicles seized under a crackdown by Thurrock Council.

The council only managed to collect 49 per cent of fixed penalty notices it had handed out over the last year after taking a lenient approach to hard-pressed families during the Covid pandemic.

That has now changed, with the council pledging to remove vehicles from anyone who has three or more unpaid fines.


Announcing the move at cabinet, Bill Maney, Conservative councillor for Little Thurrock Blackshots, said: “It’s not another cash grab on the motorist. It’s not about going after people who have committed minor misdemeanours.

“The trouble with persistent evaders is they are not just people who flout the rules and don’t pay, they are also people who more often than not don’t register their vehicles with the DVLA which means when they do commit an offence and we issue a fixed penalty charge notice, the chances of us recovering that are next to none by which time once we’ve commenced the enforcement we’ve incurred costs and the money we lose from people who don’t pay their penalty charge notice or parking charges directly undermines the parking service. The parking team is financed or supported in no small part by the money that we would get in.”

Mr Maney added: “People who don’t pay to use that car park or who don’t pay their penalty charge notices when they incur them are directly affecting our ability to more effectively enforce safety measures around our schools, keep our disabled bays free for people who need them and to maintain our car parks to the standard people expect.

"It should also be noted that persistant evaders are again more often than not are people who engage in low level crime. Nearly always their vehicles are untaxed, not MOTd and they are uinsured. They are often linked to other vehicle crime or low level crime. Indirectly by seeking to seize vehicles from these people it will have an indirect impact on making Thurrock a safer place to live and work.”

The seizures will include HGVs parked badly and who try to evade fines by being registered abroad.

Mr Maney said anyone who didn’t come forward to pay their fines and retrieve their vehicles faced losing them as the council sought to recoup costs by selling them.

The council will also look at any other outstanding debts to the council while dealing with persistent evaders.

Fines can range from £20 if paid within 28 days for leaving an engine idling, £100 for nuisance parking, £150 for littering and graffiti to £200 for leaving an engine idling.