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Bailiffs set to seize possessions

PUBLISHED: 09:01 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:47 11 May 2010

HUNDREDS of people across north Norfolk face losing TVs, jewellery, cars and electrical equipment in a new style of crackdown on unpaid council tax and business rates.

HUNDREDS of people across north Norfolk face losing TVs, jewellery, cars and electrical equipment in a new style of crackdown on unpaid council tax and business rates.

Bailiffs could be knocking on more than 500 doors in the next few weeks to take possession of goods and property, unless the debtors make arrangements to pay what they owe North Norfolk District Council.

The bailiffs' efforts will be made in a short space of time, probably about a fortnight, in a bid to collect £616,000 unpaid council tax and business rates.

The crackdown is the first of its kind in north Norfolk which, like most other councils, normally uses bailiffs on an ongoing basis instead of a single hit.

Council bosses warned last night that people still had about a fortnight to make arrangements to pay before the crackdown starts, but after a deadline of January 28, goods and property will be seized and sold at auction.

They also said those being targeted were not first-time offenders but people who had been given at least four previous chances to pay.

The largest individual debt is slightly more than £3,000, with several at about £2,000 and many more at about £1,500. Most debts derive from the last two years, although a small number run back as much as six years.

Peter Moore, the council's cabinet member for resources, said: “It is everybody's duty to pay council tax. It is unfair on everybody else if you can pay, but don't.”

Those who have debts have been urged to contact the bailiff or council to agree how to tackle the debt.

Anyone wanting to avoid further action should call the relevant bailiff, whose contact details they should have from previous letters, because responsibility for collecting the debt now rests with the bailiff company.

Alternatively, call the council on 01263 516230.

After January 28, the chance to make arrangements will have passed and the bailiffs will be entitled to seize items.

Last year, the council collected 98.3pc of council tax and business rates, putting it in the top half of authorities compared with other councils. This year, the council has a target of 98.6pc.

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