Lancaster nurse pays price for caring

Alex Roberts with his paperwork
Alex Roberts with his paperwork
  • Lancaster nurse wrapped up in two year parking ticket battle
  • Partner says he is fighting the fine “on principle”
  • Mr Roberts “proud” of his partner for showing duty of care

She chose compassion for the family of a dying patient over a few minutes in time.

But a Lancaster nurse and her partner have paid the price for her caring approach... with a two-year battle over a £75 parking ticket.

Alex Roberts’ partner, a community mental health nurse who asked not to be named, received the ticket after being delayed in a critical end of life care meeting at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Mr Roberts appealed against the ticket, and has even received confirmation from the county court in Northamptonshire that the order for the recovery of the fine should be revoked.

But Lancashire County Council has twice re-issued the ticket in what Mr Roberts describes as a “heartless and pointless” act.

Mr Roberts, 51, of Chequers Avenue, said he was glad his partner did not walk out of the meeting, and hoped that she would do the same thing again as a member of the caring profession.

He said he was fighting the £75 charge on principle, and believes the county council has subjected him to “undue vexation” with the mountains of paperwork he has had to fill out, and a thick booklet of evidence against him.

He said: “My partner is a nurse and she uses the family car, registered in my name, for work.

“It was September 11 2013 and she was a key worker for a lady with mental health problems, who was in the RLI. It transpired that the lady had terminal cancer so healthcare professionals got together with the family for a meeting about her ongoing care.

“One of the daughters, who was parked in the RLI car park, flagged up her concern that she was going to go over her two hour parking time, but hospital staff aranged to waive it. Unfortunately my partner, who is allowed to park for two hours in most parking places, couldn’t find a space in the RLI car park so parked in Ashton Road.”

Mr Roberts said his partner found herself in a difficult position as she didn’t want to leave the meeting due to it being so sensitive, so she made the decision to stay. When she returned to the car 40 minutes later a warden was writing out a ticket.

“When she explained the situation the warden told her not to worry as she had good grounds for appeal,” Mr Roberts said.

“So that’s what I’ve been trying to sort out for nearly two years. According to the county council, it was technically reasonable to issue and uphold the ticket. But I think it’s heartless and pointless, and it must have cost thousands. I appealed to an adjudicator, but all they do is look at the technical aspects.”

In June 2014 Mr Roberts was issued with a summons for Northamptonshire Magistrates’ Court.

He wrote to the court, and the magistrate ordered the ticket to be revoked.

He said: “But on October 17 the council’s parking services manager Paul Riley re-issued the ticket, even though the county court has ordered its revocation twice. I’m still glad she didn’t walk out of that meeting, and I’m proud of her for staying.”

Mr Roberts has until March 28 to respond to the council.

A spokesperson for Lancashire County Council said: “There is a clear process to follow for anyone who thinks that a ticket hasn’t been correctly issued. The order from Northamptonshire doesn’t cancel this appeal, but instead refers it back to an earlier stage in our appeals process.”