Disabled driver fuming at fine

David Smart with his parking ticket and blue badge. Picture by FRANK REID
David Smart with his parking ticket and blue badge. Picture by FRANK REID

A DISABLED dad was left fuming after he was slapped with a £70 parking fine – even though he says his blue badge was on show.

David Smart, 35, could not believe it when he walked back to his vehicle in a town centre car park to find a parking ticket on his window.

The dad-of-four claims he put his blue badge on show, but says it must have slipped slightly and left the expiry date out of sight.

But David, who suffers with a slipped disc and arthritis in his back, says common sense should have been applied and checks would have proved that his badge was valid.

“I was absolutely fuming, I just couldn’t believe it,” said David, who lives in Raby Road, Hartlepool, with his wife, Mandy, 25, and their four children, Joshua, five, Courtney, four, Thomas, three, and one-year old Riley.

“We parked up, I put my badge on show like I have done hundreds of times before and then got the kids out and shut the door.

“I can only think the badge must have slipped down a little.”

The incident happened in the car park behind Marks & Spencer, in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, Hartlepool, last Monday.

Hartlepool Borough Council say the notice was issued because the expiry date and reference number of the badge couldn’t be checked, but say David does have a right to appeal.

“I am definitely going to appeal,” added David.

“I have already been over to the Civic Centre to speak to someone about it but I was told nobody was around.

“I suppose if the appeal was rejected I would have to pay, but it’s not right.

“I just think the whole thing lacks a bit of common sense.”

Both David and Mandy are unemployed and say the £70 fine equates to a week’s food shopping.

He added: “It’s a lot of money.

“I would understand if no badge was on show at all but it was, and checks would prove it to be valid.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was issued in this case because Mr Smart’s disabled blue badge was upside down on the dashboard of his car when the Civil Enforcement Officer checked it.

“Although Mr Smart’s name and picture was visible, the badge’s expiry date and reference number could not be checked, and, therefore the validity of the badge could not be verified.

“Mr Smart has, like all other PCN recipients, a right of appeal and details of how he can go about this are contained within the paperwork accompanying the PCN.”