Libraries are missing out on tens of thousands of pounds of income a year because only half of fines they issue are ever paid.

Brighton and Hove City Council has collected less than half of the fines issued so far this year according to figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

In total about £175,000 of fines issued in the last three years have still to be collected by the council.

Users of its mobile library are the least likely to pay their fines on time, with only a fifth of fines repaid by visitors this year. Only a third of fines have been repaid at Moulsecoomb Library as well.

In contrast, three quarters of fines issued at Westdene Library have already been repaid in 2011.

In this month's budget announcement, the Green party proposed saving £150,000 over the next year by reducing library opening hours and scrapping the mobile library.

Other councils in the county said they were unable to say how many of the fines issued by their library services had been unpaid but a similar rate of unpaid fines to that in Brighton and Hove would mean more than £100,000 being unpaid each year.

Have you ever been hit with a large library fine? Tell us by commenting below.

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