FINE dodgers in Solihull who collectively owe £168,000 in unpaid fees have been targeted in a two-day police operation.
On Tuesday and Wednesday more than 300 offenders across the borough were visited by Solihull Police, in a joint initiative with the court service, for failing to pay court fines or council tax.
The fines ranged from just £30 to several thousand pounds.
Sergeant Imran Mirza, who led the operation, said: “People had the option of paying the fine there and then or being arrested and taken directly to Solihull Magistrates Court or into custody.
“It’s important we send out a strong message that punishment in the form of court fines can’t simply be ignored in the hope they’ll go away.”
In total, more than £40,000 was recovered over the two days, whilst 37 arrests were made for non-payment of fines.
One Smiths Wood resident with 11 outstanding fines totalling £4,200, some dating back to 2006, was taken into custody, whilst a Castle Bromwich man paid more than £2,000 in cash on his doorstep.
Sgt Mirza, added: “We had the power to forcibly enter premises if there was reason to believe our target was inside and simply refusing to open the door. We used these powers just once and, upon entering the house, found a female hiding in a cupboard! She owed £360 and was taken to court.”
Police and Court Enforcement Officers also used the operation to swoop on anyone who’d breached the terms of their probation or failed to show for a court appearance.
And Sgt Mirza warned that similar operations would follow over the coming months.
“We know there are still a few hundred fines outstanding across Solihull,” he added, “and we will be targeting them over the coming months. I’d encourage anyone with overdue court fines to quickly make arrangements to pay them before we come knocking.”