More than £800,000 in fines were issued at courts across the north and north-east – with more than half of them paid, new figures show.
The statistics covering from April to the end of December last year have been released.
Across the Grampian, Highlands and Islands sheriffdom £838,000 in sheriff court fines were issued – though £38,000 of those were discharged.
Of those handed out £236,000 – 58% – have been paid to date.
This compares to £1.14 million, with 64% paid, from the same time period in 2019.
– Comparison of 2020/21 to previous year
Fines imposed in north and north-east
Of the fines imposed in the sheriffdom for the last quarter, £528,000 were from the north-east courts, Aberdeen, Elgin, Peterhead and Banff.
For the same time in the previous year £760,000 in fines were handed out at those courts.
While £310,000 were imposed from courts in the north – Inverness, Fort William, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Lochmaddy, Portree, Stornoway, Tain and Wick – compared to £386,000 the previous year.
The latest statistics show that in Aberdeen £376,000 in fines were issued – £25,000 of that was discharged and £191,000, 54%, was paid.
In Peterhead £69,000 of fines were imposed, with £1,000 of that discharged, and 55% paid to date.
And in Inverness £72,000 were handed out, with the total to be paid at £68,000 and 65% paid.
– Q1-3 2020/21
‘Sanctions against those who fail to pay’
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) chief operations officer David Fraser said: “We recognise the impact that coronavirus can have on fines payers and we are maintaining additional support, with information and advice, to take account of that.
“We will employ robust sanctions against offenders who we are satisfied have failed to pay without reasonable excuse.
“The message to fines customers remains clear – continue to pay your fines or seek advice if you are struggling. Doing nothing is not an option.”
Fines Enforcement Units have a number of measures available to pursue non-payers. These include freezing bank accounts, arresting earnings, clamping vehicles or obtaining arrest warrants.
The SCTS says all fines defaulters are issued with warnings before action is taken, and those in financial difficulty can get in touch with enforcement officers to discuss payment terms.