John Colliver, a 71 year old from Caerphilly, was hit with a fine after accidentally falling asleep in a McDonald's car park in Blackwood, South Wales. He had parked up at 5am and bought a Happy Meal, but just as he prepared to drive off, he fell asleep - which proved to be an expensive mistake.
The Caerphilly Observer reported that Colliver was tired after an early start, and after eating breakfast he fell asleep in his car. He didn't wake for over an hour, which meant he overstayed the 90 minutes free parking permitted for customers.
The Daily Mail reported that as a result he was fined £100. He refused to pay, so McDonald's increased the fine to £200, citing court costs.
The Observer contacted McDonald's and Parking Eye - which runs the car park - which stood by the 90 minute policy, and emphasised that Colliver had not responded to formal notifications. They said if Colliver paid the charge, the court costs would be waived. He refused to pay, and when the Mail contacted McDonald's it said it would drop the fine.
Colliver is not the first person to fall foul of parking fines which excessively punish small mistakes.
We reported in July on the charity worker who was fined £70 by her council, after stopping for seven seconds on Zig Zag lines outside a school in Birmingham. She was trying to drop leaflets off for a charity, and on arriving to discover the school gates closed, she stopped briefly to work out how to get onto the site. The council stood by the fine, and the charity said it would pay the charge for the volunteer.
Meanwhile, in March, a driver in Bristol was fined £70 after stopping to check the parking regulations. The letter the council sent him demanding payment included a photograph clearly showing him reading the sign explaining the parking rules. After pressure from the press, the council withdrew the fine.
And perhaps most oddly, in February a driver in Bradford received a parking ticket after a mobile traffic camera photographed him stopped at a bus stop. The strange thing about this fine was that the driver hadn't parked - he was waiting in traffic.
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