A woman has told of her anguish after her car number plate was cloned leading to nearly £20,000 of fines delivered to her, and subsequently bailiffs turning up at her door.
Claire Herron from Hartlepool told ITV news she was charged for offences across almost every London borough which had been wrongly recorded against her.
The report says a victims’ organisation is now calling for a review of legislation around identity theft after it emerged that the authorities were unable to step in because, in the eyes of the law, no crime had been committed against her.
ITV explains that Ms Herron had advertised her Mercedes for sale on Gumtree and had no idea that the plates had been cloned until speeding fines, congestion charge demands and the threat of arrest warrants began to arrive at Easter 2018.
“There was a photograph of a car that looked like mine with my plate on – except it wasn’t my car and I hadn’t been in London,” she told ITV. “I contacted Transport for London straight away and was told it would get sorted out after the bank holiday, but it didn’t, and that was just the start of a very long nightmare. The fines just kept coming and coming – parking charges, speeding notices and demands from nearly every borough council in London.”
She says the stress affected her mental health.
The report explains that, while using someone else’s identity to steal is a crime, because Ms Herron had not suffered financial loss, technically she was not considered a victim. She was passed between the Cleveland and Metropolitan Police forces and it was not until the Victim Care and Advice Service – a charity funded by her regional Police and Crime Commissioner – that the nightmare was resolved.
Dave Mead, from the charity, told ITV, “Claire was caught in this automated system, and not being viewed as a victim meant she couldn’t be heard at all.”
(Picture – Yay Images)