Bailiff firms have been appointed by Leeds City Council to rake in overdue parking fines worth £500,000 a year - just as it writes off 4,000 old fines it has given up chasing.
Every year, thousands of fines are issued to people who park in the wrong place in the city or drive in a bus lane, bringing in around half a million pounds to council coffers.
It has now emerged that the council is seeking to write off nearly 4,000 old fines dating back to 2007 and 2008, as it simply cannot recover the cash.
A report to the director of environment and housing says the fines are “unrecoverable”, adding that it would be too costly to the council to chase these debts any further.
“This relates to old tickets where we have done all we can to recover the debt, but for various reasons, which include non-traceable vehicles and owners, have been unsuccessful,” a spokesman for Leeds City Council said.
“They are therefore deemed irrecoverable as it is no longer an effective use of taxpayers’ money to continue to chase the debt as the cost of recovering the debt would be more than the debt itself.
“These cases are in the minority as the collection rate for parking fines in Leeds remains at a good level.”
The council issues 150,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) each year, of which it says around 70 per cent are paid.
Parking services at Leeds City Council are seeking to write off 3,947 tickets from their database, dating from between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008.
“Following exhaustive debt recovery action, the outstanding amounts are deemed irrecoverable and consequently the debts proposed to be written off,” a report to the authority said.