By Jess Phillips.

LIBRARY users in Herefordshire accumulated fines of £35,172.44 in late return and damaged item charges between December 2011 and December last year.

The figures, obtained by the Hereford Times through a Freedom of Information request, show that £15,163.76 – 43 per cent of the total – was left unpaid.

Users of the county’s biggest libraries were the worst culprits and at Hereford library only 48 per cent of the total £13,845 was paid back, with £7,156.21 left unpaid.

Leominster users were only slightly better, paying back 53 per cent of the owed £6,348.59 to leave £2,971.73 unpaid.

Smaller village library users were much better at paying back their fines.

Weobley paid back 95 per cent of the total £297.51 leaving just £14.80 left unpaid.

Leintwardine users returned 94 per cent of the total £251.94 to leave £16.35 unpaid.

The figures cover the overdue charges for books and items such as DVDs and games, as well as replacement charges for items that have been lost or damaged.

However, fines do not appear on the reporting system until an item is returned and the charge is generated.

Until it is returned, a charge is only a possible one and the library reporting system does not report on these potential charges.

Elsewhere, Ross library users paid back 58 per cent of the total £6,204.91 with £2,636.39 unpaid, and 60 per cent of Bromyard’s total £1,969.10 was paid back, with £799.37 unpaid.

The total amount of fines generated by users in Belmont, Hereford, was £376.49, with 74 per cent paid to leave £98.09.

Users of Kington and Ledbury libraries also paid back 74 per cent, with £435.92 left unpaid at Kington and £804.87 at Ledbury.

Colwall and Peterchurch users paid back 76 per cent of their fines, leaving £198.73 unpaid at Colwall and £61.10 at Peterchurch.