Anger at town halls after they write off debts of £135 million

Debts worth nearly £135 million have been written off by London councils after they failed to claw back overpaid benefits, dodged council tax bills and unpaid parking fines.

Campaigners today condemned town halls for not doing enough to hunt down "every penny" that bailiffs and debt collectors failed to trace.

An Evening Standard investigation found that in the 2009/10 financial year Tory-run Westminster council wrote off the most at £20.6 million.

This included £19.4 million in unpaid parking fines, which the council said was accumulated over several years and included foreign cars and embassies that refused to pay tickets and fees under diplomatic immunity.