Tuesday, January 12, 2010

£Millions of parking fines unpaid ...

Look at the figures for Leeds and then look at the piece we did with BBC. Government Officers alleging theft and extortion. As more and more evidence is gathered across the country it is only a matter of time before more and more is exposed. My repeated attempts to get a Leeds City Counil parking ticket to adjudication have failed. The Council have cancelled EVERY PCN issued. However, they have not done so for other motorists issued in the same locations.

400,000 parking fines as councils owed millions
Yorkshire Post
11 January 2010
By Jack Blanchard

Traffic warden hot-spots where motorists are more likely to be hit with a parking ticket than anywhere else in the region, are revealed by the Yorkshire Post today.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information act show more than 400,000 parking tickets were given out by council traffic wardens in Yorkshire last year – about one for every five motorists in the region.The fines brought in more than £10m in revenue for Yorkshire's local authorities during the 2008/09 financial year. But it has emerged millions more are still owed to councils in unpaid fines dating back a year or more – including more than £5.4m owed to Leeds City Council alone.

Our investigation reveals Yorkshire's worst street for parking tickets is Clarendon Road in the Woodhouse area of Leeds, where traffic wardens handed out more than 3,000 tickets last year. Close behind was Cookridge Road, also in Leeds, with Sheffield's Ecclesall Road in third place.The car park where motorists are most likely to receive a ticket is the Castle car park by Clifford's Tower in York, where more than 1,800 fines were issued during 2008/09.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Leeds City Council issued by far the most parking tickets in the region. About a third of all parking tickets handed out in Yorkshire are issued in Leeds.The council's team of 84 traffic wardens handed out nearly 350 tickets a day throughout last year, bringing in £3.3m in revenue for the authority. A spokesman said: "Leeds is the largest city in the region and we would expect to issue the most parking tickets, collect the most money and have the most unpaid fines – despite our collection rate being higher than the national average."Parking tickets are only ever issued where motorists have parked outside of restrictions which are quite clearly marked and visible."

Leeds's total of more than 127,000 parking tickets was more than double that of Sheffield, the next-largest city. However, Sheffield oversaw by far the largest year-on-year increase in parking fines last year – 30 per cent more tickets were issued than during the previous year.Sheffield has also introduced the biggest rise in traffic warden numbers. The city council now employs 54 enforcement officers, up from 36 four years ago. Our study also shows rural councils employ very few traffic wardens and hand out very few tickets. This is partly because many smaller authorities have opted not to decriminalise on-street parking offences, leaving ticketing in the hands of police. Councils such as Selby therefore only enforce parking in its own car parks. Selby employs just three part-time parking inspectors and issued 241 tickets last year.

This is the BBC piece on Leeds City Council's parking enforcement regime. You be the judge of its legality. The most powerful quote was not used in the excert above so it is listed below and forms part of the file handed to the Police. The names of the Government officials have been obscured but the Police are aware of their identity.

"... attempted fraud or extortion..."
not my words but the words of one Goverment official to another. Hard to believe? The document we managed to get our hands on (along with many others just as damning, is shown below).

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