Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More on Bailiffs

BBC joins battle

Whistleblower exposes the criminal world of bailiffs.

In a nine-month-long investigation, BBC reporter Jim Wheble went undercover, working for two of Britain's largest bailiff companies. He saw first hand how the public are ripped off, conned and lied to by people who are supposed to be official court representatives.

Bailiffs are entrusted to collect unpaid parking tickets, court fines and other debts but Whistleblower reveals why some describe themselves as "legalised thieves" and how they collect millions of pounds a week.

The reporters in the programme expose some unscrupulous debt collectors who cheat members of the public out of hundreds of pounds for a single unpaid parking fine. It also highlights the plight of people who are tricked into paying debts and fines which aren't even theirs.

In constant fear for his own safety, Jim filmed bailiffs as they lied about their legal powers, threatened to take people's belongings illegally and clamped cars without authority. During his time undercover, one fellow bailiff (and ex-policeman) even took Jim under his wing, teaching him how to break into people's homes.

Jim Wheble comments: "Our investigation highlights how this is an issue that could affect us all, as any one of us could get a knock on the door from these people. The public should ensure they know their legal rights, so they are not strong-armed into overpaying or shelling out for debts which aren't theirs."

With the use of bailiffs throughout the UK booming due to the rise in debt levels and an increase in the number of unpaid traffic and parking fines, the need to highlight their criminal behaviour has never been greater.

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