December 8 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Thursday, September 12, 2013
You might think your car would be safe from Redbridge Council parking wardens in another country but one vehicle has been ticketed while it was allegedly parked in Belgium.
The car was fined for a parking offence in Hainault committed when its owner said he and his car were 230 miles away in Brussels.
The man, who did not want to be named, refused to pay the fine issued in Thurlow Gardens in March and charges have now amounted to £400.
The 45-year-old said a bailiff was sent to his former address in Chigwell and demanded the money from his elderly mother.
He added: “The photo they sent is grainy with no clear date or time. It could be anytime, any place, any car.
“My car was in a car park in Belgium at the time they said.
“I asked them for proof that it was my car but they never provided it.”
The driver said a photo sent by the council showed a car with a similar appearance and registration number. The ticket was issued after the alleged offence was caught on CCTV.
Government guidance states that CCTV cameras should only be used where “enforcement is difficult or sensitive” and ticketing by parking wardens “is not practical”.
The driver argued that residential Thurlow Gardens did not satisfy the requirements but in a letter a council officer said the guidelines were “a recommendation and not legislation”.
In previous errors, the council has fined a man for a car he sold months before, sent bailiffs to the wrong house, issued contradictory penalty notices and fined a woman for an offence that “did not happen”.
A council spokesman said: “All of our evidence points to the PCN being issued correctly. We have been provided with no evidence to suggest otherwise.
“Our bailiffs would have been made clear from the very beginning that they were trying to recover a debt from the driver himself, not his mother.”