Council chiefs have reiterated that its staff are abiding by the Covid-19 restrictions after an angry resident posted a video of his confontation at his mother’s Plymouth home.
Jerry Weeks contacted PlymouthLive explaining that he encountered a “bailiff visiting my sick mother during [the] pandemic.”
He had recorded the interaction and posted it on his YouTube site, stating that the confrontation came after his mother received the visit from a “bailiff for council tax”. He added that this was to do with a previous house, adding that “she had no idea she had a debt”.
He pointed out: “This man was less than 1 metre away. How is this a priority?”
In the clip Jerry confronts the council bailiff, who is sporting a mask and his own bodyworn video camera, saying his mother is vulnerable.
He also questioned the bailiff as to the legality of visiting elderly people during lockdown in an attempt to collect a debt.
At one stage Jerry explains that his mother had “a heart attack last week and she wasn’t even allowed to go to hospital without explaining her conditions and get across if she had a cough or cold”
He then added: “But you’re allowed to go door-to-door with a mask on, threatening old ladies.”
A Plymouth City Council spokesman said: “We work incredibly hard to ensure that we collect council tax in the most effective way possible and that enforcement action is kept to an absolute last resort.
“We find that prevention is better than cure and so long before we go down the enforcement route, we give residents every opportunity to discuss their account with us.
“We issue swift reminders and actively encourage people who are struggling to pay to contact us to arrange alternative, more suitable payment options for them.”
Plymouth City Council also provided a link to the government’s Covid-19 guidance for the debt collecting and bailiff industry at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-safely-during-covid-19-enforcement-agents-bailiffs/working-safely-during-covid-19-enforcement-agents-bailiffs