Residents hit out at parking fines

Catcote Road residents Harry James and Michelle Clements pictured with their parking fines
Catcote Road residents Harry James and Michelle Clements pictured with their parking fines

DISGRUNTLED neighbours have slammed a council’s camera car after more than a dozen fines were dished out to residents parking outside their own homes.

Residents in a stretch of Catcote Road, Hartlepool, received fines after their cars were snapped parking in a cycle lane by Hartlepool Borough Council’s controversial new £40,000 camera car.

One single mum-of-two was gobsmacked to receive five fines in just six days – totalling up to £350 in penalties.

Council bosses say they will cancel four of the five penalty fines.

The angry residents on the stretch of road say they have to mount the curb to park because the road gets too busy at certain times of the day to leave their cars on the road.

They questioned why the council didn’t send out letters before the car was launched warning them they are at risk.

Worried Susan Harker, 31 a mum of Finlay Dobing, seven and Eve Dobing, wasn’t aware she was in the wrong until she received her first penalty fine through the post – after the camera had snapped her five times.

The part time supermarket assistant told the Mail: “The camera car got me on the Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but I didn’t receive any of the fines until after this.

“I got two through the post, went to work the next day all chewed up worrying about it and came home to find there was more.

“I have to park slightly on the path because we live on a very busy road and I need to get the kids in and out safely.

“I am having to park on my neighbour’s drive now.

“The council said they would cancel four of them but that was more than two weeks ago, I haven’t heard anything since.”

Mum-of-four Michelle Clements, 44, a housewife, lives in Catcote Road with husband Andrew, 45, who owns a glass company in the town.

Michelle who also received a fine and is planning to appeal, said: “We have parked here for years and never had any problems.

“The wardens never used to hand out fines so why all at once is it a problem?”

Harry James, 67, a retired crane driver who lives in Catcote Road with his wife, Jean, 62 has already received two tickets.

The dad-of-two said: “The cycle path must have been here for about four years and we have never had any problems parking before now.”

A Hartlepool Council spokesman said: “The introduction of the camera car was widely publicised, both before and after its launch.

“We made it clear that the purpose of the vehicle was to more effectively enforce all parking restrictions, although we did say particular attention would be paid to schools.

“People must accept responsibility for ensuring that they park legally, and failure to do so can lead to them receiving a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

“As we have already stated on numerous occasions, anyone who disputes receipt of a PCN has a right of appeal.

“In the case of Miss Harker, we have cancelled four of the five PCNs issued.

“This reflects our policy – which applied in the early days of the car’s operation – of being prepared to examine cases where multiple PCNs were issued to the same person in a very short period of time.

“All such cases were treated on their own merits.”

Have you been snapped by the camera car? Let the Mail newsdesk know on (01429) 239380.