Camera car parking fine scrapped

Gillian Hartill with the adjudicator's decision. Picture by FRANK REID
Gillian Hartill with the adjudicator's decision. Picture by FRANK REID

A DRIVER hit with a fine after being nabbed by a council’s controversial camera car has had her parking ticket overturned on a technicality.

Gillian Hartill has had the £70 ticket scrapped after a parking penalty tribunal ruled that a sign informing motorists of parking restrictions at a bus stop outside St Patrick’s shops in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, was “inadequate”.

Gillian believes the ruling could open the floodgates for other people nabbed by the camera car while parked in bus stops to successfully appeal their fines.

But the council says the case is unique as the appeal was won as the photographs of the no stopping sign submitted as part of its case could have been clearer.

Gillian, 43, had appeared in the Mail in June vowing to fight the fine.

Her ticket had said she was snapped in her BMW at 9.41am on Thursday, June 9.

But she had argued this would have been impossible as she was prompt for a 9.45am appointment at Vets4Pets, almost two miles away in Belle Vue Way.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s case summary to the Manchester-based Traffic Penalty Tribunal, which included a photograph of the no stopping sign, said: “The vehicle was noted as being stationary within a bus clearway.

“The carriageway markings are correct as per the requirements of the TSRGD (Traffic Signs Regulations Guidelines Directions) and a no stopping plate is present indicating the restriction is applicable between the hours 7am-7pm.”

But the tribunal’s adjudicator, David Binns, said: “The evidence of the bus stop signage in place does not clearly show the wording on the sign.

“Therefore, it has not been established that the restricted hours were conveyed to motorists by the signage.”

Delighted Gillian, of Kesteven Road, Hartlepool, said: “This opens up a whole can of worms regarding thousands of people who have been ticketed by the camera car and paid the fine.”

Gillian, who still maintains she was not parked at the bus stop on the day in question, had collated a host of research to help her case.

Gillian, who is married to Colin, 41, and mum to Jason, 19, and 10-year-old Nathan, had even provided a letter from the vet’s saying she was on time for her 9.45am appointment.

She told the Mail: “Apparently the sign at the bus stop is not big enough or clear enough. “This ruling would apply to every bus stop which has that sign.”

A council spokesman said “in essence” the tribunal adjudicator’s outcome was awarded on a “technicality”.

The spokesman added: “The adjudicator acknowledged that her vehicle was present at the time the enforcement vehicle recorded the contravention, that her vehicle was illegally parked and that the signage present met the correct criteria .

“However, he felt that the clarity of some the photographs submitted by the council as part of our supporting evidence could have been clearer, as the exact times of the parking restrictions were not clearly legible.

“For this reason, he overturned the penalty notice .

“The outcome will not have any bearing on any other penalty notices previously issued as the photos only form part of the formal case summary.

“However, there are several other cases currently being considered by the parking adjudicator and as a result of this decision and to avoid any doubt, HBC have submitted a number of additional photographs clearly demonstrating the times the bus clearway orders are enforced.”