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What Are The Consequences Of Ignoring Fines?

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AndiFlatland | 05:25 Fri 08th Aug 2014 | Law
34 Answers
I've always been a law-abiding citizen, and I've only had the most minor brushes with the police throughout my 65 years.
But within the space of a few months, I have been served with 2 fines. On the first occasion, I went and sat on a concrete block in the car park out the back of my local supermarket, and pulled a couple of stale bread rolls out of my bag, to feed the pigeons, which gather in large numbers there. There was a guy with a small dog standing behind me a few feet away, watching what I was doing. I had thrown no more than a couple of lumps of bread to the pigeons, when 2 men in council uniforms came striding out of the entrance to the shop and made directly for me. They told me that it was an offence to feed the pigeons, and that if I didn't stop, they would fine me. I threw the last piece of bread in my hand to the pigeons, and put the pack back in my bag. I asked how much the fine was, and I was told £55. At hearing that, I laughed, and said how ridiculous that was - £55, just for feeding pigeons. This quickly turned into an argument, and while this was going on, the guy with the dog had moved round to watch from the front. Although I was no longer throwing the bread, one of the men told me that if I carried on arguing with them, he would definitely serve the fine notice. At that point, I noticed the guy with the dog watching very closely, and I said to the 2 council guys, 'I'll bet it was him who alerted you 2, the speed with which you came bursting out of the shop when I'd only just started throwing the bread' - and one of them then said 'Right, I AM going to fine you now'. I said 'What for? I've stopped feeding the pigeons as you asked. What's the offence now?', and he said that the offence had been committed, and that they were within their rights to serve the fine regardless.
I was absolutely gobsmacked, and had no option but to give them my full details. I told them that they would wait a very long time for that fine to be paid, as I'm a pensioner, with only a state pension coming in, and I can't just chuck away £55 for nothing.
A few months later, I came out of a shop which is almost next to the road junction of which the road I live on is one of the four roads that meet. It is a very busy junction, with an 'X' crossing, where all the lights are red, and pedestrians can cross in any direction. The traffic lights are green for a ludicrous length of time, and often, when I get on my bike, if the road is clear, I carefully ride over to the opposite corner, up on to that corner a bit, and cut across into my road.
On this particular day, I was in a hurry, and needed to get home within 5 minutes. As I took off at a bit of a clip from the lights, a police car suddenly appeared from nowhere, and as it screeched to a halt level with me, one of the officers told me to stop. I did as I was told, and for a few moments, I wondered what the problem was. I was very polite and cooperative, when they asked me if I knew why they had stopped me. At first, I said I had no idea - until it dawned on me that they must have observed me make the most minor traffic violation. I then said, 'Oh I think I know - you saw me cut across that couple of metres of the corner of the pavement by the lights. OK, I do apologise, I'm very sorry, and I accept the warning'. To my utter astonishment, the officer said 'This is not a warning - you're going to get a fine'. No matter what I said, they were not going to be deflected from serving the fine, which they told me was £50.
The thing I want to know is, I am absolutely outraged by both of these fines, and I'm intending to ignore them, and refuse to respond to all correspondence about them. The pigeons one has already brought a summons to court, which went straight in the bin. If they can't get any response from me - my doorbell is always disconnected - what more can they do? I knew a guy who was continually getting parking tickets, and somehow he seemed to get away with ignoring them for years.

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We're all different but I would pay them and put it all behind me.

Neither fines are wholly refutable and certainly not worth a lengthy battle.

Sorry, i didn't answer your question. I don't know the consequences of ignoring them but I guess its more fines on top of these original minor fines.
Pay the fines. if you don't they can escalate into costing you hundreds of pounds if it goes to court.

I saw an article in my local paper where somebody was fined for dropping a cigarette butt.

While I hate any sort of litter it seems they always pick on the easy target and I see all sorts of rubbish in my area (chip wrappers, plastic bottles, coke cans and so on) yet one person drops a cigarette butt and they get fined.

Sadly sometimes life is not fair.

I was recently fined £100 for doing 35 in a 30 limit, yet when I walk down my local high street I see some drivers speeding like lunatics and revving their engines and they never get stopped.

Rather annoyingly in an area near me (with many immigrants) about 30% of cars are not even insured, yet I get fined because my car is fully taxed and insured so they can easily track me.

So life is unfair, but pay the fines. If you are really hard up you may be able to pay in instalments.
Yep....pay the fines. They'll take you to court if you don't. Then they'll send the bailiffs round.
I agree with the previous posters. Don't ignore the correspondence. Insofaras feeding the pigeons, are there any notices posted in the area stating that it is against the law to feed the pigeons?
Yes, pay up and move on or else this may spiral out of control and /or become an obsession for you.
Pay your fine, the end result will be prison and you will still have to pay your fine, it won't go away. If a bailiff shows up at your door that will cost you their expenses in excess of £200 just for the visit.
Make contact, write to them or phone the telephone number given and tell them you're going to pay the fines but need a payment plan because, as you say, you are a pensioner on limited income and cannot afford to pay in one lump sum, make them an offer, say £2 a week. Keep copies of all letters sent and received and make a note of dates and times of phone calls for future reference. If you do this and it does go to court you can then argue the case that you haven't refused to pay but just needed time. Good luck.
Pay the fines, do it now. You should never have thrown that summons in the bin, it'll only add to the costs. Your time to complain about the unfairness of it all should have been when you went to court to hear your charges. Don't ignore it any longer.
Pay your fineS and take the lesson. Bit silly to say to the policeman that you accept the warning, if you hadn't assumed you would get away with it, you might have got away with it.
Pigeons are disgusting creatures and feeding them has caused their numbers to explode in built up areas.
If you don't pay the fines, then as RATTER has said, the costs will escalate and the bailiffs will be called in.
If you wanna ignore it - ignore it

If they know where you live which they do - then all that happens is that you lose more of your money the longer it goes on....

You can do the experiment if you want.

what point are you making ? it is not unlawful to feed pigeons when it is ?
I agree. Ring them maybe and set up installments or an agreement if you can. If you ignore it, the fines will escalate very quickly.
Are you wondering whether there is some victimisation here, Andi? It may be that someone has been complaining to the police/council, but that won't help your defence. You might have got away with the first one if you hadn't thrown a further piece of bread and then started challenging them about the role of the man with a dog.

I have a lot of sympathy with you about the pigeon incident, the most harmless things are blown out of proportion and twisted sometimes but it is a cold hard fact that the longer this goes on the more it will cost you. If it gets to the sag when they involve the Bailiffs and they probably will, then it sarts mounting up very quickly. Rings the fines office tell them you are a pensioner with absolutely no spare money or savings and offer them 50p per week on each fine, then at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that their admin for it will cost them more than your fine, which will at least make you feel more like you've won.xxx
You broke the law ... bicycling on pavements is against the law .... and poses problems for pedestrians. Accept you have done so, pay the fine and stop breaking the law.
was there a sign to say do not feed the pigeons ?
I agree with the idea of offering a smaller payment. If the offer is accepted you may then take some pleasure from knowing that it's a great inconvenience for whoever has to process the payments. A company I once worked was owed a lot of money by someone but had to accept a £1 a month for something like 30 years. It probably cost us more than £1 to process and account for each payment, especially when they expected us to send a receipt by post each month
Pay the cycling one - it's from the Police and won't 'go away'. Your use of the phrase 'accept the warning' indicates that you knew it was wrong (been warned before?) and you got caught - pay up before things get (much) worse.

Don't ignore the pigeon one - if it's not the Police then dispute it with the issuing organisation - possibly on the grounds of 'inadequate signage' or 'first offence'.

It got to this point because you didn't respect their (possibly spurious) authority and were argumentative - don't make it worse by ignoring them now - be polite, apologise and ask nicely.
Many years ago in my teens I was arrested on the streets and spent the night in a Police Cell to appear in court the next day, all over a £10 fine that had escalated to over £500 due to me ignoring it.

Just pay it!

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