A MOTHER says she was “horrified” when her eight-year-old son was threatened with referral to a debt collector after he was late returning a library book.

Jamie Rogers, of Lodge Close, Orpington, burst into tears when his mother Michelle explained what the overdue reminder letter from Bromley’s Central Library meant.

The youngster and his six-year-old brother Kai had borrowed several books as part of Bromley Libraries Circus Stars, a summer challenge designed to get kids reading.

But when Jamie forgot to return A Very Fishy Battle by Jeremy Strong, he got an unpleasant surprise through the post.

News Shopper: Jamie Rogers

Addressed to Jamie, the letter asked him to return or renew the book, before adding: “If you believe that you no longer have these items, please contact the library immediately, as you may be referred to a Debt Collection service.”

The book was due to be returned on August 11.

Bromley libraries do not fine children for overdue books.

Michelle, 38, said: “I was horrified.

“What is the world coming to when you have to threaten an eight-year-old for an overdue library book?

“For a start children's books are not charged when they're overdue and surely a gentle reminder that a book has been out for a while might be sufficient, instead of a threatening letter of this manner.”

News Shopper: The letter from Bromley Libraries

Recalling when Jamie opened the letter, Michelle said: “The first thing he said to me was I don’t understand. When I explained he was really upset. I had to tell him not to worry. He thought we were talking police and he’d have to go to court.

“Even before he went to school on Monday he said ‘you will take my book back won’t you?’”

She added: “I will be in two minds as to whether my children borrow books from the library again if this is the way they are treated.

“If it was not for the fact I take them there a lot I’d be tempted to go stuff you then, but I don’t think that’s fair on the kids.”

A Bromley Council spokeswoman said: “The letter is a standard secondary notice which is sent out after an initial letter when books are more than two weeks overdue.

"Children’s books are not charged overdue fees but we have a duty to ensure that books are available for everyone after their initial loan period and to make sure that they are returned.

"We do apologise that the letter was incorrectly addressed to the child and we have amended our records accordingly."