Nine-hour stand-off as Hornchurch driver refuses to allow council to take car in row over fine

A Hornchurch woman who claims she was wrongly accused of driving through a red light, cut off a wheel clamp and refused to leave her car for nine hours when bailiffs threatened to take it away.

The bailiffs visited Kirsty Tierney-Jones home on Thursday on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council and demanded she pay �680 or they would remove her vehicle.

The authority claims Mrs Tierney-Jones, of Wallis Close, drove through the light in Chequers Lane, Dagenham, three years ago and still owes the authority a fine.

But the 31-year-old says she was at Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, at the time of the offence and sent a doctor’s letter to prove it.

Her car, she explains, was parked in the car park.

The council says Mrs Tierney-Jones’ appeal was rejected because although the doctor’s letter proved she was at the hospital there was no evidence her car was there.

“After I sent that letter, which was over two years ago, I didn’t hear anything so I assumed the matter was closed,” she told the Recorder.

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“But then at 7.45am on Thursday these bailiffs turned up and said I have to pay �680 or they’ll take my car. They said that I’d received warning letters which I hadn’t. I told them this, but they continued to demand the money and put a clamp on the car. I couldn’t believe it.”

Determined not to let them take the vehicle Mrs Tierney-Jones cut off the clamp with a pair of angle grinders, sat in the front seat and refused to move.

“I called police and so did they,” she said. “Some officers turned up and said I could be arrested for criminal damage, though in the end they left and told the bailiffs to leave too.

“I stayed in the car until I was sure they weren’t coming back. I wasn’t going to let them punish me for something I didn’t do.”

A council spokesman responded saying: “Photographic evidence proves that it was her car in Chequers Lane.

“A debt registration letter was sent in April and in June a warrant was issued by the bailiffs and sent to her address.”

But Mrs Tierney-Jones believes she has been the victim of number plate cloning.

She has been told that the bailiffs will return and she must now pay �1,093.