Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

People Power Rescues the Twickenham One; ... but Bailiff Still Gives [Pound]858 Bill to Woman Who Won Case in Court

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

People Power Rescues the Twickenham One; ... but Bailiff Still Gives [Pound]858 Bill to Woman Who Won Case in Court

Article excerpt

Byline: GILL SWAIN

THE WOMAN who ended up with a [pound]279 parking fine because a warden couldn't see the outline of a resident's bay for leaves has defied a bailiff who tried to seize her Mercedes.

In bizarre scenes in Twickenham, design consultant Victoria Hildreth lined sons Tom, 13, Harry, 12, and their friends up on the car roof and marshalled angry neighbours to help after she believed her dispute with the council had been settled.

At one point residents, including writer Erin Pizzey, lay down in the road to prevent the [pound]36,000 silver Mercedes Elegance being towed away.

Four police officers arrived to keep the peace while Mrs Hildreth made frantic phone calls to the council and the offices of CCS Enforcement Services to get the bailiff called off.

Eventually he left, but not before handing her a bill for [pound]858.68 for costs. Shaking with rage, she said: "This has freaked me out. My son, Tom, is epileptic and I can't possibly do without my car in case I have to rush him to hospital."

Before Friday's scenes Mrs Hildreth, 46, an award-winning designer of seasonal exhibitions for Marks and Spencer and other retailers, had appealed against her fine at a hearing in Richmond Magistrates Court on 13 August after an earlier visit from the bailiff. She told Justice of the Peace Lady Woolf the case was all about "the wrong kind of leaves" in Lebanon Park.

A warden had given her a ticket in November 1999, because they had covered the bay's white lines and he said he was not allow ed to move them.

When she shifted the leaves herself to prove the wheels of her car were within the bay, he told her it was too late as he had already written the ticket.

Mrs Hildreth refused to pay and protested at a Parking Shop but she admits she ignored a letter telling her the case had been referred to the County Court in Northampton. That led earlier this month to a visit from the bailiff w ho went away after she told him she was going to the Magistrates Court. …

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