Bailiffs 'acted like burglars' and took cash out of disabled woman's purse over parking fine

It is time to have an independent bailiff regulator to "get a grip" on abuses of justice, a Leeds MP has said.

The lady had been given a fine as her blue badge had expired

Rachel Reeves raised concerns over the number of people who had experienced a "bailiff pushing the legal limits" as she warned the Government the 2014 reforms "clearly aren't working".

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said the Government intended to launch a call for evidence before the end of the year to help protect those in debt even further, adding a regulator was "one of the matters that we will consider in due course".

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Chairwoman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and MP for Leeds West Ms Reeves said: "2.2 million people were contacted by a bailiff in the last two years, have experienced a bailiff pushing the legal limits as my friend's constituents have experienced, including forced entry into a home, removing goods needed for work and refusing a reasonable payment plan.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves

"The 2014 reforms clearly aren't working, doesn't the minister agree that it is time to have an independent bailiff regulator to get a grip on these abuses of justice?"

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Labour's Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East) raised the case of one of her constituents.

She said: "My constituent who is disabled and vulnerable was petrified when she thought she was being burgled. Two bailiffs aggressively entered her house without showing any ID, rummaged in her bag and took £240 out of her purse, she was made to pay another £180 on top of that.

"She only learned afterwards that this was due to a parking fine because her disabled badge was out of date.

Ms Reynolds added that given the "shocking" figure that a bailiff breaks the rule every minute, "when is the Government urgently going to review the rules and introduce an independent body to police the rules?"

Ms Frazer said: "She is right to highlight that we need to protect debtors from aggressive behaviour by enforcement agents.

"I've read the report that Citizens Advice have released today and I'm aware of the issues that exist.

"We intend to launch a call for evidence before the end of the year to help protect those in debt even further."

She added: "I'm very sorry to hear about her constituent's situation, I'm very happy to discuss the individual case.

"As I mentioned we are intending to launch that call for evidence before the end of the year where we will look at these matters very carefully."