Donating to charity cost dad £70 fine

DONATION: Bob Gardner outside the Hartlepool and District Hospice shop in Wynyard Road.
DONATION: Bob Gardner outside the Hartlepool and District Hospice shop in Wynyard Road.

AN angry dad has hit out at a controversial council camera car after he was slapped with a £70 parking fine while donating goods to charity.

Bob Gardner’s car was snapped in the minute or so it took him to get out of his Hyundai Trajet and drop six bags of clothes, shoes and toys off at the Hartlepool and District Hospice Shop, in Wynyard Road.

The 38-year-old was targeted because he had parked his people carrier across a parking bay and a bus stop directly outside the shop.

He admits that he shouldn’t have parked there, but said the stretch of road was busy with other parked cars and didn’t want to park any further away because he had his daughter waiting in the car.

The dad-of-four said: “I must have been in the shop about a minute, if that, handing the bags in and I have been hit with this fine. I couldn’t believe it.

“I could understand if I had been there half-an-hour or so but I only nipped in to the shop and this car just drives past.

“I just think it is unfair, especially because I was making a donation to charity.”

He lives in Gulliver Road with his wife Karen, 34, a part-time cleaner and children Callum, 13, Robbie, 11, Dalton, eight and five-year-old Connie.

Mr Gardner, who is a brickwork lecturer at the Hartlepool College of Further Education, added: “We have a lot of stuff and we often donate clothes, shoes and toys to the hospice shop.

“This will not put me off donating but I will think twice where I park.”

The camera car, which was introduced by Hartlepool Borough Council to tackle nuisance motorists outside of schools, is tackling all forms of illegal parking in town.

Mr Gardner has appealed against the ticket, but is still waiting for a response.

His car was snapped on Thursday, May 27, at 2.47pm and since the camera car was launched in May, hundreds of fixed penalty notices have been issued.

The £40,000 hi-tech vehicle, which is fitted with a camera and computer equipment to spot cars parked on yellow or zig-zag lines, automatically takes photographs of offenders and then a fine is posted out to the driver.

A council spokesman 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.”