Can you ignore a holiday parking ticket?

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Middle Eastern cars in London

If you are driving abroad and pick up a parking ticket, you might think that you'll be fine to simply ignore it. However, Angela Epstein believes that you should probably think again.

The mother of for was caught parking in an illegal spot in a hired Mercedes by the Italian Police and received a letter a while after returning home informing her that she must pay 122.84 Euros (£88).

Writing in the Telegraph, she said: "I was staggered. In fact, I can't even remember where we parked that day. But I'm not alone."

AA research shows that parking fines are the most common offence committed by their members abroad. This comes as no surprise when you consider that 11.4 million British holidaymakers a year venture on to the continent by car.

Epstein speaks of how the Brits believe that there is no chance of a parking ticket abroad following them back to the UK. "There has been an unspoken culture amongst us Brits to ignore these far-flung missives. After all, what can they do?" She stated.

Different people have different theories of how far foreign authorities will go to make you pay. One of Angela's Italian friends said: "they are soooo disorganised," and encouraged her to ignore the penalty. Another friend, though, was stopped when returning to Spain and forced to pay an outstanding fine.

There is no need to panic, though, if you recieve a parking fine that you have thrown in the bin, you certainly won't be doing any jail time.

"Parking fines are a civil offence so it is about how much it will cost you," explained motoring lawyer David Barton to the Telegraph.

There is usually a 60-day period in which drivers have to pay a fine or appeal it, after which the cost of the fine normally doubles and the organisation can use debt collectors to recoup the money.

Happily, though, the DVLA is currently forbidden from giving any details of UK drivers to foreign enforcement agencies, however that could be about to change when the EU Directive that will give them electronic access to driver records.

Concluding her thoughts, Epstein advises: "Unless you really think you didn't commit the offence, and if you want to return to that country one day, then pay the fine."

Have you ever ignored a parking ticket while abroad? Were there any repercussions? Have your say in the comments section below.

Author: Harry Boucher