Confusion over parking fine

Steve Clarke, who was issued with a parking fine four minutes before his ticket expired.
Steve Clarke, who was issued with a parking fine four minutes before his ticket expired.

A motorist was shocked to find he had been given a parking fine – despite being within his hour-long stay.

Steve Clarke parked his Nissan car in Dalton Square, Lancaster, at 12.18pm, paying for an hour’s parking.

However, returning to the vehicle just under an hour later, he was stunned to find he had been issued with a penalty charge notice at 1.14pm, although his car clearly showing his parking expiry time.

Mr Clarke challenged the order and it has since been overturned, but he is confused as to how the mistake happened.

The ticket he was issued clearly showed both a fine issue time of 1.14pm and an expiry time of 1.18pm.

“My parking ticket was clearly displayed on my windscreen and there was still four minutes of valid parking time left,” he said in his appeal to the county council.

“Obviously a mistake has been made but surely a basic check of the time should be part and parcel of any routine procedure before an offence notice is issued.

“Your own document clearly states that the ticket was issued four minutes before any possible offence could have been committed.”

“I think they may be issuing tickets with a few minutes left on the parking time on the off chance that people will be late and may not fully check the ticket,” Mr Clarke told the Guardian.

“Surely the machine they use should not allow a ticket to be issued before the expiry of paid parking time.”

Paul Riley, Lancashire County Council parking services manager, said: “We cancelled this penalty notice as it was clear that it had been issued in error before the parking time had run out, and offered our apologies for the inconvenience caused.

“It is normal practice only to issue penalty notices once the time has run out. It is very unusual for our enforcement officers to make mistakes but when they do, they are picked up with the penalty quickly being cancelled through the appeals system.”