TIME off school has cost a Pembrokeshire couple more than £1,000 each after failure to pay a fixed penalty notice for school non-attendance resulted in court and a hefty fine.

Haverfordwest magistrates court heard that a pupil, who cannot be identified, missed school sessions between October 6 and October 26 last year.

Rhian Young, prosecuting on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council, said that the pupil had had 12 unauthorised absences and three authorised absences during this period meaning that his attendance was at 71.8 per cent.

A letter had been sent to the boy’s parents in November last year giving them 15 days to submit any evidence regarding the unauthorised absence. A penalty notice followed on January 19 this year.

This gave the parents 28 days to pay £60 or 42 days to pay £120. However, nothing was received.

Neither parent, who also cannot be named, appeared in court and magistrates found the case proved in their absence. Both parents were fined £666 plus a £66 victim surcharge.

They must also pay shared costs of £562 consisting of investigation charges and legal costs. The total of £1007 for each parent must be paid within 28 days.

“The court takes very seriously absence from school,” said the chair of the bench.