Parking wrangle motorist vows to fight verdict on fine

Lawrence Sutcliffe in Daisy Street car park, Brighouse
Lawrence Sutcliffe in Daisy Street car park, Brighouse

AN angry motorist is challenging a parking fine and refusing to pay a penalty charge in a wrangle over a faulty ticket machine.

Mr Lawrence Sutcliffe says he is prepared to go to court to prove that he made every attempt to pay to park in Daisy Street car park, Brighouse.

He is furious that Calderdale Council will not accept his explanation and is pursuing him for non-payment.

Mr Sutcliffe, of Dalton, Huddersfield, drove into Brighouse on the afternoon of March 2 to attend a meeting at the Assembly Rooms. He put enough money into the ticket machine to cover his parking space until after 6pm but it ejected the coins. He tried again with different coins to the same value. This time it kept the coins but didn’t issue a ticket.

“I thumped the machine to see if the ticket was stuck and could be dislodged but still I was not issued with a ticket. By this time I was running late so I wrote a note in large letters saying ‘No tickets in the machine’ and left it in my windscreen in full view.

“When I came back to the car park after the meeting I was outraged to see I had been issued with a parking ticket. I also noticed that about five other cars had tickets on them too so that implies to me that other people were having trouble with the machine.”

When he complained to the council’s parking services department, he was told that a civil enforcement officer had successfully obtained a ‘token’ ticket from the machine at 4.39pm on Mar 2 and that officers were instructed to ignore handwritten notices on car windscreens.

“My argument is that, just because it was working at 4.39pm when the officer tried, it doesn’t mean it was working at 3.50pm when I - or the other drivers - tried it. The council maintains that the money collected from the machine on the day balanced but my argument is that they have no way of proving whether or not it was working at the time I tried to pay. I am not someone who avoids trying to pay in car parks and I made every reasonable effort to pay.

“I feel aggrieved that due to the malfunction or non-stocking of the ticket machine I should be fined and asked to pay again for a service which I didn’t receive. I know I did everything right and I’m not going to pay until they can prove otherwise.”