Angry driver hits out over parking fine

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson

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AN outraged driver has vowed to go to court rather than pay a fine issued by a council’s controversial camera car after he pulled into a bus stop to drop off a friend.

Paul Robinson was stunned to get a £70 fixed penalty notice through the post after being flashed by Hartlepool Borough Council’s camera car earlier this month.

Paul, 50, says he was driving along Wynyard Road, in Hartlepool, when he pulled into a bus stop to drop his friend off.

He says his vehicle was in the bus stop for seconds – a claim which is backed up by his letter which states his Ford wagon was “observed from 12.41pm to 12.41pm on June 10”.

Even though Paul agrees with the idea of the £40,000 car being used to improve road safety – particularly around schools at peak times – he feels he has been unfairly targeted.

Paul, a self-employed asbestos stripper from Jameson Road, said: “I must have been there for seconds, how long does it take to pull a car in, let someone get out, say goodbye to them and then pull away?

“Even the ticket says I was there from 12.41pm until 12.41pm. It’s scandalous.

“If I’d pulled the van in, got out and nipped into the shop for a paper and then come back, I’d have been bang to rights. My vehicle would have been blocking a bus stop.

“But in this case, I wasn’t causing an abstruction, I looked in the mirror and there were no buses behind me. I actually saw the camera car drive past, but never even gave it a thought that I’d have been fined for an offence.

“I’ve been fined for speeding before, and when I got the letter I thought ‘fair enough, I was going too fast’ and I paid the fine by return of post.

“But they’re not getting a penny out of me for this one, no way. I’d rather go to court than pay anything.”

He added: “The idea of the car improving road safety is good. People should be fined if they park on zig-zags or double yellows to drop their kids off. That causes obstructions, people can’t get past, and you get congestion.

“But surely my fine is not right. Some people might pay it straight away, but I think if this is how the council is going to operate then somebody needs to take a stand.

“The letter from the council says I will only have to pay £35 if I pay within 28 days, but I’m not even going to do that.

“Where will it end? It’s getting out of hand already.”

The camera car, which is equipped with state-of-the-art cameras and computer equipment, was launched last month and figures show that 438 drivers were issued with fines inside the first month.

A spokesman for Hartlepool Council said: “We’ve had a very high-profile campaign to warn people in advance about the introduction of the camera car.

“Clearly, it is against the law for vehicles to park in prohibited areas such as bus stops and anyone who does so runs the risk of receiving a penalty charge notice.

“The camera car has been introduced to improve safety on roads in Hartlepool and we urge drivers to park responsibly.

“Anyone issued with a penalty charge notice has the right to appeal.”