Bailiffs threatened pensioner over £1 debt

The Council demanded the tiny debt in a letter
The Council demanded the tiny debt in a letter

An elderly woman was ordered to pay a £1 debt or face a visit from bailiffs.

Gillian Ince, 78, received a stern letter from South Oxfordshire District Council demanding she pay the debt relating to council tax for her former home in Thame.

Yesterday the council waived the charge, apologised for any confusion and changed its procedures.

But the letter – from council out-source company Equita Limited – said if the pound is not paid, bailiffs would call to remove goods to be sold at public auction.

It read: “This action will involve you in considerable further expense, which will be deducted from the proceeds of the sale.”

Speaking earlier this week, her son-in-law Mark Moore, 42, a salesman from Long Crendon, said: “What are they going to do? Remove a tin of beans?

“I think it’s just stupid. For somebody to write the letter in the first place is petty enough. But to an old lady? Somebody is having a laugh.”

Mrs Ince has recently moved away from her Thame home to Northampton so her son-in-law tried to deal with the charge.

He said: “I have not heard anything so ridiculous in all my life.

“I’m happy to pay the pound but I’m tempted to pay it in one pence pieces or ideally something even smaller.

“I am going to leave it, they can come and knock on the door. I just think it is ultra ridiculous.”

The council said the bailiff ‘did not take into account a payment fee surcharge’ and so requested the £1 payment.

But it has cancelled the charge, apologised for any confusion caused and ‘increased the monetary value of its small balance letters’.