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Air travellers warned over unpaid fines checks

22 February 2018

Offenders who dodge fines imposed in the Scottish courts have been warned to pay up before they try to fly after a number of non-payers were arrested at airports in Scotland and England.

Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service (SCTS) has disclosed that a man coming back from holiday in the Netherlands with a group of friends was arrested at Liverpool Airport over unpaid fines amounting to £770, imposed at Dumfries Sheriff Court for possession of drugs and road offences including careless driving. He had avoided paying since 2016.

His fine was settled by a family member but not before another member of his group was also identified as a non-payer with an outstanding total of £600 in fines for speeding imposed at Selkirk JP Court. He paid up online.

Two men getting ready to fly from Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports were also arrested for unpaid fines. An Airdrie man with fines from Paisley and Coatbridge JP Courts for three offences of driving without insurance and urinating in the street was held as he was about to fly off on holiday to Turkey from Glasgow. He had to settle the £860 total before being allowed to continue. In Edinburgh, a man who owed £300 for speeding fines at Dumfries JP Court was stopped on his way through the airport and paid up in full before he was released.

Such arrests are just one of a number of measures available to SCTS for recovering unpaid fines. Other enforcement measures include clamping vehicles, arresting wages, taking money directly from benefits and freezing bank accounts.

A report released by SCTS today shows that 86% of the value of sheriff court fines imposed during the three-year period between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2017 has either been paid or is on track to be paid – a rise of two percentage points compared with the figure at 11 October 2017. Of JP Court fines imposed from 1 April to 30 September 2017, 81% by value is similarly on track.

SCTS chief operations officer David Fraser commented: "The fines enforcement teams continue to be highly effective in securing unpaid fines – ignoring your fine and not speaking to an enforcement officer if you are having difficulty paying is very unwise."

Only fines which involve the endorsement of a driving record cannot be paid electronically at the moment. 

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