A ‘haywire’ parking meter landed a woman with a hefty fine after issuing a ticket timed before she had arrived.
Claire Wright, 48, was visiting Kingston on September 11 last year for a midday meeting about a beachwear company when she paid £1.80 to park on the road in Elm Crescent.
But when she returned to her 4x4 five minutes later she realised an incorrectly printed pay and display ticket had left her with a £55 fine.
It had printed the expiry time as 8.34am, three hours before she arrived, and the word ‘token’.
A nearby parking warden looked at the ticket and the machine, agreed it was faulty and called the control room to report the fault.
But Kingston Council still pressed ahead with the fine.
Mrs Wright said: “Me and the parking warden stood at the machine and put money and tokens in and we printed out over a dozen tickets.
"Some were OK but others were skewiff.
“He was totally satisfied it was not working. It was producing tickets behind the time you arrived. Two other lads who arrived after me also had wrong tickets.”
The Camberley woman even returned several times to track down the name and badge number of the helpful parking warden so she could call his evidence.
Despite her evidence, Kingston Council pressed ahead with the fine only backing down this month a few weeks before she was due to give evidence to a parking and traffic appeal hearing.
Mrs Wright said: “They have a certain obligation to make sure these machines are up and running and without a fault. I think it is all tactics.
"They even denied there was any fault logged to say these machines are faulty. I know those machines were out of order the next day.
"When I told a parking warden it [the prosecution] was going ahead he said ‘you’re joking’."
A spokesman for Kingston Council said it accepted they should have cancelled the fine earlier.
He said: “After review we accepted the word of the driver and cancelled the penalty charge notice.
“Initially the penalty was upheld because, whilst we now accept that the ‘test’ ticket was likely the result of a faulty machine, it is also possible that someone with access to a test token could use it to get the test ticket rather than pay and then fraudulently claim a fault.
"We accept that we could have reviewed this matter sooner.
"We deal with most pay-and-display machine faults within 24 hours, and suspend enforcement when appropriate."
Have you been given a ticket from a 'haywire' parking meter? Call the newsdesk on 020 8744 4244 or email email@example.com