Council hands out parking ticket - for 90 second stop


David Osborne, a 68-year-old builder and decorator from Bristol, had driven his partner into the city on Valentine's Day for a romantic drink. He pulled over outside the bar he was planning to visit, and hopped out to read a sign showing the parking restrictions. As soon as he realised that it was a clearway for another hour and a half, he got back in and drove off. In all he says he must have been there for about 90 seconds - but it was long enough to earn him a parking ticket.

And he's far from the first victim of over-zealous parking enforcement.

> Osborne told the Western Daily Press that he hadn't been stopped by a warden on the day, so the first he knew about the ticket was when he received a letter in the post, ordering him to pay a fine of £70. The letter included a CCTV photo of him to prove his mistake. He can be clearly seen beside the car checking the parking restrictions.

The Daily Mail reported that a Bristol Council spokesperson confirmed they had reconsidered the case and would be withdrawing the fine. She added: "He was clearly reading the restriction signs and not parking. We would like to remind drivers who think they have received a parking fine incorrectly to use the appeals procedure that is set out on the ticket."

Osborne pointed out that it would have been cheaper and easier for the council to have used common sense in this instance and never have issued the fine in the first place. However, he is far from the first to have been stunned to receive a ticket.

Weird tickets

In February we reported on the Bradford motorist who received a parking ticket after a mobile traffic camera photographed him stopped at a bus stop. The only problem was that he hadn't parked there: he was stuck in traffic. The council apologised for not having checked the photograph more carefully and cancelled the fine.

A year earlier it had been the turn of Lesley Mair, a 43-year-old from Musselburgh, who was driving along Portobello High Street when she saw a woman collapse face-down on the pavement. She hurriedly pulled into a disabled bay and rushed to her aid. While she was helping, a traffic warden gave her a ticket.

And a year before that a warden in Wandsworth showed even less sympathy, when he issued a ticket to a man who had stopped at the side of the road to help a motorcyclist who had been knocked off his bike. The driver could clearly be seen helping the unconscious man a few feet away.

There are some weird cases too. In 2003, Lambeth Council gave two divers £300 worth of tickets, as they tried in vain to rescue a whale that had swum into the Thames. They paid at meters on Vauxhall Bridge and left a note saying they were part of the crew trying to help the whale. However, wardens ignored the note and slapped the cars with tickets.

Even more oddly, in 2012 a warden in Appledore in Devon ticketed a lifeboat which had been briefly left on a trailer outside the lifeboat station.

But perhaps the oddest ticket of all was in 2003, when a hearse pulled up outside a funeral director's in Leith, ready to be loaded with a coffin. When the driver went inside for the body, an eagle-eyed warden slapped the car with a ticket.