Welwyn Garden City man: ‘I’ve been threatened with bailiffs but I don’t owe court a penny’

A WGC man has been threatened with bailiffs and a locksmith coming to his home to take his possessions over an unpaid court fine – despite having settled the bill.

Philip McCowen paid the �385 he owed for driving without insurance in four instalments, and has the receipts to prove it.

But the court presiding over the case has employed debt collectors to chase what it claims is an unpaid �175.

Mr McCowen, of Walnut Grove, attended Hendon Magistrates’ Court in October last year and pleaded guilty to the driving offence, committed that May.

The 55-year-old was disqualified from driving for 28 days and ordered to pay �385.

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However, despite having receipts for each of the four payments, Mr McCowen is now being asked to pay another �175 by debt collecting company Philips Collection Services.

He said: “I have been receiving text messages from Philips since February threatening me with bailiff action, but each time I am told to contact them.

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“Why should I pay a premium rate to tell them to get their facts right.

“It’s a con, a complete con.”

The latest text message Mr McCowen received read: “A bailiff may attend your premises with a locksmith to remove any levied goods.”

Despite following requests by the debt collectors to text a number and then be called back, so far the 55-year-old has not been contacted.

A spokesman for Hendon Magistrates’ Court said: “HMCS takes its fine enforcement responsibilities very seriously.

“We have a rigorous complaints procedure and would welcome details from Mr McCowen so we can look into it.”

The Welwyn Hatfield Times repeatedly attempted to get a response from Philips about any outstanding debt.

But, even though Mr McCowen sent the firm written consent to speak about his case as requested, a spokeswoman hung up on our reporter.

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