Fines dodger arrested at ferry port

May 31, 2018

Fines dodgers who are preparing to go on holiday through ports and airports have been warned to settle their bills or face arrest after a man with an unpaid fine was held at a ferry port.

The man, who was convicted of theft and assault and fined at Dumfries Sheriff Court, had failed to pay £395 and had ignored repeated warning letters. A warrant was issued and he was arrested at Cairnryan ferry port having arrived on a ferry from Ireland.

Police took the man to Stranraer police station and after he paid the outstanding amount in full he was released.

Arresting non-payers at ports and airports is one of a number of measures available to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) for recovering unpaid fines and with the growth in the popularity of cruising, arrest at seaports can ruin holiday plans.

A new report released today reveals that the SCTS has maintained a strong fines collection rate. It shows that 86% of the value of Sheriff Court fines imposed during the three-year period between 1st April 2014 and 31 March 2017 has either been paid or is on track to be paid consistent with the figure at 17 January 2018. Of JP Court fines imposed from 1 April to 31 December 2017, 81% by value has been paid or is on track to be paid by instalments.

SCTS Chief Operations Officer David Fraser said: “Jeopardising your travel plans is just not worth it. The fines enforcement teams continue to be highly effective in securing unpaid fines so ignoring your fine and not speaking to an enforcement officer if you are having difficulty paying is very unwise. Failure to pay, or to engage with our officers, will result in strong sanctions being taken including the inconvenience and embarrassment of being arrested when travelling abroad.”

Other enforcement measures include arresting wages, taking money directly from benefits, freezing bank accounts or clamping vehicles.

Two Fife drivers both found their cars clamped outside their home for failing to pay their fines totalling almost £1000. The two, living at the same address in Kirkcaldy, had been fined £800 and £75 respectively for careless driving and having an unlicensed vehicle. After ignoring warning letters from Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court asking them to settle their fines, vehicle seizure orders were issued and they found both cars clamped outside their home. The fines were then paid in full.

In all cases, the offenders had opportunities to make payment of their fines at a reasonable and affordable instalment rate – but did not pay up. All defaulters are issued warnings before action is taken. Those in genuine financial difficulty can engage with enforcement officers to discuss payment terms.

Most fines can be paid round the clock on our secure website at or using our automated telephone payment system by phoning 0300 790 0003. Only fines which involve the endorsement of a driving record cannot be paid electronically at the moment.

For those penalties that cannot be paid using the online or telephone payment systems, customers can post payments to Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Central Processing Unit, PO Box 23, Glasgow, G59 9DA or take it in person to any Scottish court fines office.

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