Vet ‘alibi’ over camera car fine

Gillian Hartill with Bailey and here fixed penalty notice
Gillian Hartill with Bailey and here fixed penalty notice

A DRIVER slapped with a fine claims she was somewhere else when she was supposedly caught on camera parked illegally.

Gillian Hartill, 43, was stunned when she received the £70 fixed penalty after she was snapped parked at a bus stop by Hartlepool Borough Council’s controversial camera car.

She accepts photographic evidence that it was her BMW in the picture outside St Patrick’s shops in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool.

But at 9.41am on Thursday, June 9, when the ticket says she was nabbed, she claims she was frantically rushing her injured pet shar pei dog, Bailey, for treatment at Vets4Pets, in Belle Vue Way.

The council insists, however, that the car’s timings were working properly.

Gillian admits she may have parked at that bus stop before – but says the date must be wrong as it would have been impossible for her to do so on the day in question.

The vets have verified that Gillian was prompt for a 9.45am appointment on the day and Gillian said she would need to be “Superwoman” to have been parked in the bus stop before making it to the vets, which she says would have taken least seven minutes.

Gillian said: “It’s down to the council to get their paperwork correct and look into it.

“I think people of the town should know this before coughing their money up.

“I was half-way down the A689 rushing my dog to the vets after he ripped his claw when I was supposed to have been parked there.”

She said the route she took to the vets from her home was down Mowbray Road, along Catcote Road and down Owton Manor Lane – the section south of Catcote Road, not the northern part of the road where the shops are.

The Mail drove the 1.9-mile journey at around 11.20am yesterday and completed it in four-and-a-half minutes although the roads were clear.

Gillian said she set off at 9.35am and got to the vets 10 minutes later.

Gillian, who lives in Kesteven Road with husband Colin, 41, and sons Jason, 19, and 10-year-old Nathan. said she has launched an appeal against the penalty ticket.

And the vet has provided Gillian with a letter confirming she was at the surgery.

Charlotte King, receptionist at Vets4Pets, said: “Mrs Hartill was definitely here for 9.45am waiting for emergency treatment for her dog.”

A council spokesman said: “We have checked the vehicle’s systems and we are satisfied that they are in full working order. “If Mrs Hartill wants to continue to dispute the penalty charge notice she received she has the right to appeal just like anyone else.”

More than 438 fixed penalty notices have been issued since the launch of the camera car earlier this month.

Its use was publicised as paying particular attention to parking outside schools, but the council said last week the car aims to tackle all forms of illegal parking.

l HAVE you been hit with a camera car fine? Contact the Mail newsdesk on (01429) 239380 or email