Mark Rouse, a 48-year-old from Wilton Terrace in Southsea, Hampshire, has been jailed for forging a parking permit, so he could park outside his own house. He had saved just £160 as a result of his crime.
Rouse moved to a new home in Southsea last year, and was given a temporary parking permit by Portsmouth Council. That expired after six weeks, and Rouse wasn't able to apply for a free permanent permit, because the Citroen C4 he was driving wasn't registered in his name.
He could have applied for a visitor's permit - which would have let him park outside his house for 90p a day. He could have parked round the corner. Instead he decided to make a fake permit, using the temporary one as a template.
The forgery was spotted by a traffic warden, and a council investigator paid him a visit. Rouse said he had been using the permit to park for up to six months. In court he admitted the fraud and was jailed for 16 weeks.
Councillor Ken Ellcome, the council's Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said in a statement: "Residents of many streets in Portsmouth value their permits because they mean it's possible to park near their homes. Forging a pass is an attempt to cheat the system and claim a parking space that isn't yours – stopping other people using it. I hope the sentence will deter other potential fraudsters."
Jailed over parking rows
It seems like a particularly harsh penalty for a crime that saved him so little money, and simply enabled him to park outside his own home. However, it's not the first time that parking problems have ended in jail sentences.
In March this year, a 37-year-old from Westminster was jailed for nine months, after headbutting a traffic warden in an argument over parking his car.
In May, a jury convicted a 32-year-old for threatening someone with a knife. He had refused to pay a £400 parking ticket, and when a debt collections officer arrived to take his car in lieu of payment, he brought out the knife and threatened to stab him. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail.
In 2013 a 58-year-old in Barnsley was jailed for a year over a parking dispute. He was already subject to an ASBO after harassing neighbours and making their lives hell for years. He breached the ASBO by parking cars with offensive number plates outside his neighbour's house - reading R 5OUL and GRA55 R - and was jailed for a year.
And last year a man from Shepton Mallet was jailed after he decided to drive a stolen car to court where he was appearing before magistrates on a burglary charge. He parked the stolen car outside, and because officers knew he was due to be there, they checked the car park and discovered the crime.
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