Disabled woman claims council bailiffs illegally seized her car

Cherry Clarke Credit: BPM Media

A disabled driver claims police and council bailiffs may have broken the law by seizing her car after accusing her of not paying a £60 bus lane fine.

Blue Badge holder Cherry Clarke says she was physically removed from her Toyota Yaris by an officer before it was towed away from her home in Perry Barr in Birmingham.

She has now been told she has days to pay the fine, which has risen to £93, or her car - her only means of transport - will be sold to pay the debt.

Birmingham City Council claims it sent numerous letters to her address and that no Blue Badge was on display when the Toyota was taken.

But Mrs Clarke disputes the claims and has accused bailiffs and police of breaching the Taking Control of Goods Act 2013 - which exempts disabled people from having their vehicles seized.

The dispute began last Tuesday when the car was clamped by council-appointed bailiffs, who stated she had not paid a driving fine from July.

Cherry, who suffers with chronic back pain and blood clots, initially managed to get the clamp removed after making a complaint to her local neighbourhood council office.

She insisted she had received no letters about the fixed penalty.

But at 6.30am the following Thursday, bailiffs from the private company returned to her home and seized her three-year-old car, which was parked on her driveway and which she uses for regular hospital visits.

When Cherry protested by sitting in her life-line vehicle, police were called.

Cherry claims she was threatened with arrest before one female officer pulled her from the vehicle, which was then taken away by bailiffs.

She added that it was 'unacceptable' that they pulled her out of the car and that her vehicle had been taken away when she had told police officers that she was disabled.

In response, West Midlands Police said that Cherry had been removed from the car 'for her own safety' and that she had not been arrested.

Local MP Khalid Mahmood has taken up her case Credit: PA

Cherry's local MP Khalid Mahmood has now taken up her case, issuing the following statement:

One of the letters said to have been sent to Cherry Credit: BPM Media

Birmingham City Council maintain that no blue badge had been on display and that the action taken was appropriate, responding that:

  • There was no badge left on display in the vehicle when bailiffs visited the address on 16 and 18 February 2016.

  • When the bailiff company undertook checks of the vehicle with DVLA the checks did not confirm the vehicle as being:a) Registered as a disabled vehicle; b) Owned and leased from Motability Finance; and c) Eligible for the Disabled Road Tax Exemption.

  • Seven letters have been sent to Mrs Clarke, as the registered keeper of the vehicle, since 15 July 2015 - none of which have received replies.

  • Bailiffs delivered the last letter, advising of enforcement action if the fine and charges were not paid, on 15 February 2016.