A WOMAN sat in protest in her car for more than four hours after bailiffs clamped her and threatened to tow her away.

Charity volunteer Susan Hatton, 61, of Leigh, said she would rather be impounded than pay the £695 fee which had spiralled from a £35 parking fine from more than a year ago.

The baliffs, working for Southend Council, tried to seize the car yesterday.

However, after the Echo intervened the clamp was later removed and the council has now promised to review the case.

Mrs Hatton said: “I would have gone to the pound with it. They still haven’t taken me to court. I want my day in court.”

The volunteer came out of the St Mary’s Horse Refuge shop in Sutton Road, Southend, with her arms full of items for auction to find bailiffs had clamped her car at about 11.15am.

After sitting in the car for more than four hours as bailiffs waited for a recovery vehicle to arrive from Kent, Mrs Hatton said the clamp mysteriously disappeared as she popped to a cafe to visit the toilet.

Yet the council confirmed the bailiff had not removed the clamp and its removal was being treated as unauthorised.

The Echo told on Monday how Mrs Hatton was fined £35 for dropping her sick 84-year-old father, Ken, off in Eastwood Road North, Leigh, in December 2011.

The fine rose to £167 after Mrs Hatton refused to pay it because she had only stopped for eight seconds, but yesterday the bailiffs informed her it now stands at £695.

She said: “It’s annoying. I keep thinking eight seconds and now I owe them £700!”

Her fellow volunteers at the animal welfare charity supported her.

Sam Hurst, 33, of Southend, said: “It’s a bit much isn’t it. It’s more the fact that how they knew she was here. They have been following her.”

Lin Michaels, 61, of Southend, said: “It’s unjust.

“In 61 years I’ve never been in trouble with the law but I think this is so bad I would jump on the truck and bend its windscreen wipers to stop her car being taken away.”

Peter Geraghty, Southend council’s acting head of planning and transport, said: “We appreciate the anxiety situations like this can cause.

“We will be reviewing the relevant CCTV footage and the circumstances under which this penalty charge notice was issued.”