A bewildered mum has been fined £400 because her sick son took a day off school – nearly NINE years ago!
Chris Barlow, now 24, was off sick when he was a teenager in November 2004 because he had severe headaches as a result of an undiagnosed brain tumour.
At the time, his mum Darilyn Rothwell, 51, from Radcliffe, Manchester, was given just seven days to pay the truancy fine, even though she claims she had informed the school that Chris would be off.
Three months later, Chris, who now has three children of his own, collapsed with seizures and was on a life support machine for three days at Royal Bolton Hospital. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent numerous operations.
But Darilyn was taken to court by Bolton Council later that year after education bosses claimed she was not doing enough to get her son back to lessons at Harper Green School in Farnworth after his treatment. The case was thrown out by magistrates and Darilyn assumed that was the end of the matter.
However, she has now been issued with a letter by debt recovery firm Marston Group, who were acting on instruction from HM Courts & Tribunal Service, ordering her to pay a £405 court fine within seven days
If the mother-of-three does not pay the fine she has been threatened with bailiffs coming to her house and the sale of her possessions by public auction.
A spokesman for the council claimed the fine related to a case when Darilyn was found guilty in her absence of allowing her son to be truant.
The mum told her local paper: "The situation was tough enough at the time: he had to have tuition in hospital and wasn't well enough to go to school and we ended up having to go to court to explain the situation.
"It's eight years on now and we get hit by this from absolutely nowhere. It's not just the financial stress of being told we've got to find this money but it brings all those awful memories back up again.
"As far as we're concerned there's no fine to be paid, but even if there was it seems bizarre that after hearing nothing for eight years we suddenly get a letter saying we've got to pay this money within seven days or face further action."
The Courts and Tribunal Service, which is responsible for the collection of fines dished out in courts across the UK, confirmed it was looking into whether the order had been made in error. A spokeswoman said: "We are aware of this incident and are investigating."