Grandmother slapped with fine for upside-down ticket

Emma Woollacott
Parking ticket on a car windshield.
Parking ticket on a car windshield.

A Nottinghamshire grandmother has been issued with a parking fine - because her pay-and-display ticket was upside down.

Janet Gasson, 67, parked in Newark town centre while she went to watch her granddaughter at a dance rehearsal. But when she returned to her car, she found a £50 penalty ticket, despite the fact that her parking ticket still had 15 minutes to run.

When she collared the traffic warden for an explanation, she was told that it was because her ticket had been displayed upside down.

"I had laid the ticket on the dashboard, like I always do. He said it was upside down and that he couldn't read it," Mrs Gasson told the Daily Mail. "It was outrageous. If it had been out of time then fair enough, but it wasn't."

Plans to appeal
Mrs Gasson now plans to appeal, after having been told by the council that the ticket should be acceptable as long as it was legible.

Councils slapped nearly eight million penalty charge notices on cars last year, according to Churchill Insurance. It's a lucrative business for them, raking in around £255 million last year. While the number has fallen slightly, following government calls, councils are still issuing a ticket every four seconds. Westminster alone accounted for 455,000 - more than four for every resident.

Many more are issued by private firms policing parking at supermarkets, hospitals, retail parks and railway stations.

"In many areas, parking restrictions can be confusing and appear inconsistent, so we'd urge motorists to be vigilant when parking their vehicles to avoid hefty fines," says Churchill's had of car insurance Steve Barrett.

The Newark case is just the latest in a series of acts of over-zealousness by parking wardens. In February this year, for example, a Bradford driver was given a ticket while caught in traffic. A year earlier, a woman was ticketed in Edinburgh after abandoning her car to help a passer-by who had collapsed.

However, one in 15 council tickets is successfully challenged. Grounds for this include being able to demonstrate that you were loading or unloading - a delivery note can do this - if you've broken down, or if there are compassionate reasons. You can also appeal if the information on the ticket is wrong, or if all nearby ticket machines are faulty. Citizens Advice has advice on challenging a ticket here.

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$665K Parking Space in London
$665K Parking Space in London