Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Richmond Council banks ten grand in 3 months from terrorist's activities ...

... But no refunds because ... being a terrorist ... "does not constitute grounds for cancellation of penalty charge notices issued by him ... the parking regulations do not allow this."
Parveen Bindra, Legal Services Department, Richmond Council

Yes, I had to read it twice as well.

Not sure whether the legislators would have factored this into the equation when drafting the Notice to Owner.

Grounds for cancellation (tick relevant box)
[] The contravention did not occur
[] The Traffic Order was invalid
[] I was not the keeper at the time of the contravention
[] We are a hire firm
[] The vehicle was taken without my consent
[] The Parking Attendant was a terrorist

It was reported earlier in the year that Richmond Council had been employing a former terrorist as a Parking Attendant.

Mustapha Boutarfa, 32, was arrested by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad in 1996 and extradited from Britain to France two years later. He was subsequently jailed for his involvement in a bomb attack on the Paris Metro - which killed eight people and wounded 80.

However, he managed to get back into Britain and gained employment as a Parking Attendant with NCP Services.

It is reported that when his employer, NCP Services, learned of his background - three years after he first started work - it suspended him, saying it could "understand public concern about this matter".

The report back in July claims that Boutarfa is now being investigated by police.

One question that beggars belief is 'Why didn't NCP Services check his references?'

After suffering damage to its reputation and company image after a BBC reporter was able to get a job as a Parking Attendant in Sunderland it may well have been prudent to conduct an employee check across the whole of its work force.

Another, and equally serious question was raised with the council ... 'how much income was derived from this former terrorist's activities and will this money be refunded?'

The partial answer (they only revealed the number and value of PCNs issued for this financial year ... and a further FoI is pending) revealed that £10,040 had been banked ... in just 3 months!

The council would not however, be refunding any of this.
They staggeringly claim that the fact that ... THE PARKING ATTENDANT WAS A TERRORIST IS NOT GROUNDS FOR APPEAL!

Being a terrorist (Richmond Council claim) "does not constitute grounds for cancellation of penalty charge notices issued by him ... the parking regulations do not allow this."

Well, let us consider this ... it is found that a Police Officer falsified his references to gain employment would his convictions stand?

Or a Judge assumed someone else's identity and spent three years convicting people. Would those convictions stand?

Richmond council has not only financially benefited (unjust enrichment) from the activities of someone who has fraudulently gained employment they have also potentially placed the motorists involved under threat ... by allowing access to vehicle registration numbers, addresses and access to other personal details as well as being in a position where vehicles and persons could be tracked and monitored.

This is a gross dereliction of duty by Richmond Council who has a vicarious liability for the actions and/or failings of its contractor NCP Services and therefore all motorists should in the first instance be offered refunds and an unconditional apology.

Once the figure for his total length of employment is revealed (FoI pending) it may well run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and may well initiate a complaint by motorists under the 2006 Fraud Act.

If you are a Richmond motorist who has had a PCN then e-mail us at

(c) Parking Appeals Ltd.

S & B Parking 'removed' from parking contract

Parking Appeals had received a number of complaints about this firm operating on private land ... Lomeshaye Business Village Estate, Nelson, and their tactics.

Permit holders and other motorists had been receiving tickets through the post and the firm had been using CCTV to 'harvest' registration numbers from cars allegedly committing contraventions after the firm obtained keeper details from the DVLA

We reported that Matthew Brough of S& B had previously claimed victory here and the firm were now instructing bailiffs to pursue all the other motorists.
It now emerges, and was reported in the Burnley Citizen, who on September 6 reported comments by the owner of S&B Parking who said he had been to county court and won "three test cases" in a "court battle" to try to enforce payment of his firm's "fines."

But it is believed the judgements were issued without individuals involved being able to challenge them in court.
As a result the business park bosses have terminated the contract with S & B car parking company because of these accusations of issuing 'extortionate' tickets. More ...
The moral of the story is ... if you feel that a parking company's actions are unlawful or at best questionable then stand up and challenge them.
Parking Appeals will provide all the assistance you need to challenge tickets issued on private land.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

People's artist Banksy and those double yellow lines ...

... a word of warning to councils everywhere ... many of your signs and lines are as unenforceable as this one!

It is a requirement of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 that yellow lines must be correctly terminated with a T-Bar. If the T-Bar is missing or incorrectly marked then it is not legal.

This double yellow in Bethnal Green is not correctly terminated.

This is also perhaps the only photograph of the famous street artist Banksy whose work sells for £tens of thousands.

It appears as though he too is unfamiliar with the requirements of TSRGD 2002 ... as the terminal mark he has drawn for the double yellow line is also non-compliant ... it MUST be a T-Bar ... not a flower or a gap.

So, if you have received a ticket at this location will handle your defence and prepare your case for you free of charge.

Meanwhile, if Banksy gets in touch we can give him the numbers of all the other councils who are using signs ( meter bays, parking and pay and display bays) which are also non-compliant ... and earning vast sums for their 'graffiti.'

His work is art ... their work ( below) is incompetence but I am sure that the council would rather have a flower ... both are unenforceable but the flower is prettier.

If you want to read the BBC Report click here

Meanwhile, the race is on to get the first ticket at this location.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Misfeasance and Malfeasance in Public Office ...

... if I was a member of a local authority enforcing restrictions I knew to be unlawful would I be worried?

Up until now there has been a cocky, contemptuous arrogance from many council parking departments and council officers thinking that they are above 'the law' or that no-one would ever bring an action against them.

Well, as more and more members of the public begin to suffer injustice at their hands, more and more are prepared to fight that injustice all the way ... and that means to the Police with criminal charges and to the civil courts for damages.

Gone are the days where a restriction is proved to be unlawful and the council will continue to think that it can ignore the legal signing requirements, advice from the Department for Transport or even decisions by adjudicators.

In one of my own cases an adjudicator ruled that a restriction was not lawful ... yet the council issued a further 33 Penalty Charge Notices before the threat of police intervention forced them to cover the meter and stop issuing PCNs. The case against the council is currently being prepared.

However, the situation in Bolton has reached an even bigger audience and is becoming increasingly more significant as the Police confirm they are now investigating.

Statements from the council that they are aware that the signs do not comply with the law but 'anyone' can see what it means is not the law. Income unlawfully derived in such a fashion will have to be repaid and action taken against those who think that the law does not apply to them.

Read the story which made front page of the Bolton Evening News here.

A lot of pressure will be placed on the Police ... especially as they now have to investigate a 'partner.' Any attempt to try and obfuscate by stating that it is a civil rather than criminal matter (as some forces have attempted to do) could be seen as 'misfeasance' ie. supporting a regime, and actions, that they know to be acting unlawfully.

The report of the latest adjudication hearing in Bolton last Friday is to follow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Open letter to NCP Services Head of Communications ...

... to bring to his, and NCP Services' attention the fact that many London boroughs are aware that many of their parking bays are unlawful and do not comply with the law.

However, as one local authority has already confirmed ... they have not passed this information on to the Parking Attendants or the enforcement contractor. Therefore, Parking Attendants are continue to issue tickets in areas where the council are aware that it is against the law to do so.

I am sure that Mr. Cowene will want to ensure that his company does everything within the law and we will await his confirmation that he will contact the local authorities on this point as a matter of urgency as it is a rather serious matter to ask motorists for money for an alleged contravention which cannot be deemed to have occurred at a location where there is no lawful restriction.

If you want to know exactly how the councils are getting it wrong ... then visit the 'Top Tips' section on

The letter to Mr. Cowen is below:

Tim Cowen
Director of Communications
NCP Services
24th October 2007

Dear Mr. Cowen,

It has come to my attention on a recent visit to London that a great many parking spaces across the capital are not correctly marked. In many instances the bays are unlawful 'hybrids' of TSRGD 2002 Diagrams 1028.4 and Diagram 1032, and other variations are being used and enforced.

The Department for Transport have confirmed that such hybrid bays would never receive Special Authorisation for use and therefore issuing Penalty Charge Notices in such marked bays would be unlawful.

Conversations with a number of Parking Attendants in Camden and Westminster and other local authorities in London confirm that they are unaware of the fact that the councils are initiating a programme of corrections and have not been advised not to issue in such locations. Can you confirm this to be the case?

The Parking Attendants also claim that they are not instructed or trained to recognise unlawfully marked bays (which include pay and display, meter, permit, loading and disabled bays). Again, I would be grateful if you could clarify this point.

Would you also be able to confirm that it is NCP Services and not NCP that now operate the on-street enforcement across the country and detail the contracts currently held and can you clarify whether the local authority contracts allowed the contract with NCP to be amended and passed over to a new company?

Do you now intend, in light of this information, to seek clarification from the local authorities concerned, as to whether NCP Services Parking Attendants should be issuing Penalty Charge Notices in areas where the local authority is fully aware that the signs do not comply with the law (the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002). Obviously they would not be correcting signs which did comply with the law and I am sure that your company would not wish to issue Penalty Charge Notices in areas where you are fully aware that the signs or lines do not comply with those prescribed in law.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Herron

Parking Appeals Ltd.

Motorists don't feel fine in hospital

Feeling fine?

Another NCP fine blunder has caused distress to a great many hospital visitors. NCP sent motorists' details to a debt enforcement firm ... even the ones who had already paid.

It has caused a great deal of embarrassment for the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust whose car parks NCP run. The Trust however, did the decent thing. A spokesman said:

"As a result it had decided "the only sensible thing to do" was to cancel all of the debt and write to all those affected to confirm no payment was owed. "

NCP spokesmen must now be fed up at attempting to defend the indefensible. The BBC report states:

"NCP was unavailable for comment on Tuesday."

NB. Clarfication from NCP Services' Tim Cowen Communications Director is posted in the comments section. He states:

You seem to be confused between NCP Services and NCP. They are two separate companies (used to be one and the same but were separated in March and are now separately owned).The hospital car parks in question are, I believe, run by NCP, so I would be obliged if you could remove the NCP Services logo (removed and replaced with NCPs).I work for NCP Services, which does not run any local services in Humberside.You spelt "indefensible" wrong as well (corrected ... been going through a bad spell of late).
Tim Cowen
Director of Communications
NCP Services

Nice to see that the 'industry' is keeping up to speed with our activities and thanks to Tim for clarifying the position.

It may well be beneficial therefore, in the interests of clarity for Parking Attendants to be brought up to speed on the basics of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 ... especially how parking spaces need to be marked. As most London Councils are now embarking on a programme of corrections they are aware that bays not correctly marked and cannot therefore be enforced.

I will put this to NCP Services Communications' Director Mr. Cowen in order for his company's Parking Attendants to know the law and to prevent them issuing tickets in areas which are not lawfully marked.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mayor's car parking blunder in Poole means free parking

The photograph (left) shows Poole Council's Mayor's car parked 'illegally' and the story is reported in the Dorset Daily Echo under the headline "Mayor's Car Parked Illegally."

However, closer scrutiny shows that the Mayor's car was NOT parked illegally and this makes matters even more embarrassing for the council.

It appears from the photograph (and the estimated width of the car) that the loading bay which the car is parked in (marked to diagram 1028 series of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002) ... appears only to be 2m wide.

The minimum width of a loading bay is 2.7m for obvious reasons. You cannot have a bay that a van won't fit in and it can be seen that the Mayor's limo overhangs as does the red van. Furthermore, the bay must be marked with the legend 'Loading Only' not 'Loading Bay.'

Therefore, anybody issued with fines at this location must be refunded ... and until the council change it to comply with the law it is free parking.

For more info that the councils don't want you to know to help you get that unfair parking ticket cancelled visit

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The future of parking?

German Parking Garage

This is pretty amazing!

The two photos were taken at a new parking garage in Munich. The actual space that the facility occupies is approximately only 20% of a comparable facility with the traditional design that is used primarily in the US.

Not only is the German structure less expensive to build, but vehicles are also "retrieved" in less time andwithout the potential of being damaged by an attendant.

As parking becomes a premium and real estate prices escalate this will be the future of parking in city centre.

However, councils will be reluctant to endorse such schemes 'cos there will be no parking fines for them to get their grubby little hands on.

Once one council or developer is brave enough to build the first then the rest will follow ... and it will free up a great deal more 'end of journey' spaces desperately required to regenerate city centres.

No more driving around polluting while you look for a space. No more fines after being tempted to take a chance parking for a couple of minutes.

This is the future... only trouble I can see is when everybody comes back for their car at the same time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Parking Attendants caught parking illegally

One from the archives.

This is a reminder to all Parking Attendants how not to park ... especially when you intend to vexatiously target a motorist parked on the same yellow line.

Remember, there may well be someone watching you watching the motorist.

However, we do realise that there is pressure on all Parking Attendants across the country to ensure that ticket numbers are maintained.

If anyone wants to confirm this then you can e-mail us at in the strictest confidence.

If you work for a council and are becoming increasingly concerned at the way members of the public are being treated then please contact us with any information.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Blue Badge Parking Victim ...

... when will this discrimination end?

It seems that there is a problem across the country with Blue Badges being set incorrectly or displayed the wrong way up. Therefore, one must assume that the instructions are not as clear as they should be. But to address and solve the problem would mean the cash harvest from such contraventions would be removed.

However, some local authorities do exercise discretion for such mistakes and cancel the PCN on the production of the 'right side' of the Blue Badge or an explanation as to how the 'error' occurred. So, if one local authority does and another does not then it would give grounds for a complaint.

I think the time has now come for the Department for Transport to intervene and work with Disabled Motorists groups to devise a new type of Disabled Badge which cannot be displayed the wrong way up and with a built in clock so you do not have two different bits of cardboard to worry about. In this day where we can triangulate a persons position to the nearest metre via a mobile telephone it is not beyond the realms of modern science to create a Blue Badge with an integral digital time clock which shows the time parked.

Yet another horror story is reported below, but if anyone else has suffered in such a fashion we have common defences and standard letters of appeal at

Pensioner in tears at fine for upside down disabled ID
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Belfast Telegraph
By Claire McNeilly
The daughter of a 91-year-old Ulster woman who was fined £30 for displaying her disabled badge upside down has told of her mother's distress after the incident. More ...

Glasgow Lollipop Parking Attendants 'non-productive'

In Glasgow the Parking Attendants are used to man the school crossing patrols BUT this has led to a drop or decline of £704,000 in parking fines.

A source said this was because parking wardens were spending their time on school crossing patrols.

No matter how many times councils chant the mantra that parking enforcement has nothing to do with raising revenue but keeping the streets clear and traffic moving the harsh reality is that it has everything to do with revenue generation as the story here highlights.

Using Parking Attendants for such duties takes them out of the enforcement loop and their productivity drops.
And they wonder why motorists are becoming such cynics.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Great Train Robbery

As Ronnie Biggs sees out his final days behind bars an even bigger train robbery is taking place every day.

Another couple of days in London trying to get a Parking Ticket ... and failing again ... with our somewhat high profile, double yellow lined F1 NED vehicle I decided to catch an earlier train home.

We had spent most of the day placing the car in some of the most ticketed locations in the capital (as identified in last week's Sunday People) but Parking Attendants beat a hasty retreat when they see the car. However, Atlantic Road in Brixton is CCTV enforcement so we are hoping to get a ticket there ... and we will then prove that the restriction is unlawful. Newington Green Road in Islington is also supposed to be monitored by cameras ... so fingers crossed there.

Anyway, I finished early and rather wait for the 9pm train I jumped on the 4pm with minutes to spare.

As usual something was wrong. Last time I managed to get the only seat on a packed train where the electric socket wasn't working and there was no food on account of the staff not turning in. Not sure who drove the train but as it was a pretty straight line it could have been the ticket collector

This time the inner carriage door was stuck open and we were treated to a pleasant sewage odour from the blocked toliet for the duration of the journey.

Then I was mugged. The mugger wore a navy blue uniform and hat and managed to extract £236 from my credit card while, for once, my jaw stopped working. I only wanted a single ... but a single was the same price as a return ... £236.
My 9pm ticket was £29. I could have spent £207 in the bar at King's Cross Station to kill the time.

Even a taxi would have cost £250 to the door.

Is it any wonder that people refuse to use public transport?
Dick Turpin must be rolling in his grave. He could have spent his mornings as a Parking Attendant, afternoons on the trains and his evenings watching the telly ... CCTV bus lanes and yellow box junctions.

Meanwhile, my letter of complaint is ready to go ... I couldn't really argue about the broken door and the smell of sewage on a £29 ticket ... but at £236 I want hand maidens and the scent of roses.

If only Ronnie and the gang had had a bit more vision and instead of robbing the train they should have just bought a locomotive and robbed the passengers or let Dick Turpin do all the work and robbed him when he went to the Coach and Horses for a pint!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Free Parking in London ...

Last Wednesday we attempted to get a Penalty Charge Notice in a pretty high profile location. Luckily, a space became available ... outside the Department for Transport's offices in Horseferry Road.

The location purports to be a pay and display bay but, as any of the officials inside the building would point out, any road markings and signs would need to comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.

Now, one would not expect any of the officials in the building to exploit their knowledge of the law ... and use the space for their own personal free parking. So, it appears as though the officials who walk past the unlawful bays either turn a blind eye or have not yet tipped the nod to Westminster Council.

However, Westminster Council officials have already been made aware ... as the result of signing expert Richard Bentley's comments at this location on the Trevor McDonald Tonight special that we did over a year ago.

To continue to enforce in this location in the full knowledge that the signs were unlawful is a little naughty indeed.

So, we tried to get a parking ticket ... by not buying a pay and display ticket. We ordered a coffee and waited, and within minutes a Parking Attendant came by. He logged the vehicle and departed. The vehicle, being a commercial vehicle may have been afforded its '20 minute casual observation.'

He duly returned 20 minutes later and bingo we thought. He stood by the vehicle logged it again and we got ready ... first Westminster ticket. And then, after looking around, he walked off.

We waited another hour but still no luck.

The bay is incorrectly marked and if you do get a ticket we will prepare your defence.

We repeated this at a number of locations across Westminster and Camden and failed to get a single ticket.

To find out why this bay is unlawful visit

Millions in refunds for motorists after Hampshire's speed limits collapse

Signing expert, retained by Parking Appeals for our own cases, has recorded another major victory.

Millions of pounds of fines could have to be refunded after a landmark ruling found several speed limits on Hampshire's roads are not legally enforceable.

The judge's decision on Friday opens the door to thousands of motorists to claim their money back, but that could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Click HERE to see if you can appeal.

The local press reports can be seen here

Amusingly Hampshire County Councillor Mel Kendall dubs Richard as a 'self-styled' expert witness and claims the motorist has 'got off on a technicality' in the BBC report here

Well, Councillor, that 'technicality' is actually THE LAW and by not abiding by THE LAW it has meant that such cases will continue to collapse until you obey THE LAW.

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 is not a comic or a picture book ... it is THE LAW!!! Perhaps instead of trying to slander the expert witness who the judge happened to agree with you should be spending your time constructively in investigating who it was who decided that the council could ignore the law.

Meanwhile, if the motorists fined unlawfully are not refunded voluntarily then the council can prepare itself for a great deal more publicity.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Footballer Ian Wright and that Parking Attendant incident

Below is the video clip showing ex-Arsenal and England footballer and an associate in a 'tussle' with a Parking Attendant.

Although it is like a playground pushing match, we cannot condone any form of physical response however much the motorist feels justified.

It is clear however, that those motorists at the sharp end who are of a 'confrontational' temperament could end up taking matters into their own hands.

Once more and more people ( motorists and Parking Attendants alike) realise that it is the the councils who are to blame for using parking enforcement as a revenue raiser and the enforcement contractors who are setting targets to hit the numbers required to fulfil their contractual obligations then we know who is fully to blame.

Unfortunately, it is the Parking Attendant who is perceived by the motorist as the one responsible whereas the reality is that those who set the targets and continue to enforce unlawful regimes and those who believe they are protected in their local authority ivory towers that are the real culprits.

The Parking Attendants have no discretion and are censured and under pressure to hit targets and incidents like the above and the one reported recently Traffic warden attacked at Iraq soldier’s wake

We will continue to expose illegality by councils and anyone wishing to pass information can do so in the strictest confidence. This lawless activity by councils MUST be stopped.

Other sites offering protection for those concerned at their local authority's behaviour in relation to parking matters can also visit

View the video here

Definition: (Pretty appropriate in this Ian Wright post)

Whistleblowing -

a. Bringing an activity to a sharp conclusion as if by the blast of a whistle (OED)

b. Raising concerns about misconduct within an organisation or within an independent structure associated with it (Nolan Committee)

c. Giving information (usually to the authorities) about illegal or underhand practices (Chambers)

d. Exposing to the press a malpractice or cover-up in a business or
government office (US, Brewers)

e. Providing a safe alternative to silence (Public Concern at Work)

f. (origins) Police constable summoning public help to apprehend a criminal; signal to stop work in the industrial age; referee stopping play after a foul in football.

Perhaps a lesson to us all ...

Totally off subject but sometimes things need to be shared to help make a better world..

The following five posts will hopefully touch you the way they touched me. The author is anonymous.

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

'What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?'

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

'Absolutely,' said the professor. 'In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:3 0 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 60s.

The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:

'Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.'
Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

'How much is an ice cream sundae?' he asked.

'Fifty cents,' replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

'Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?' he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

'Thirty-five cents,' she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

'I'll have the plain ice cream,' he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts.

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.

The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, 'Yes I'll do it if it will save her.'

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, 'Will I start to die right away'.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Norwich Union Direct ... even they cannot get the law right

The Norwich Union advert (left) has a glaring error ... the parking space is illegal and could not be enforced no matter how many cars were parked in it.

If you have received a ticket in such an instance (parked in such a bay and not on top of another car) then you need to visit and you can get that ticket cancelled.

The bay has double terminal marks ( = = ) ... they should be single ones (- - ) when used with the ( - - - - - ) lines running parallel with the kerb.

We will show you how easy it is to get that ticket cancelled ... and how many local authorities get things so badly wrong.

Just wait until we start showing you the Camden and Westminster stuff ;-)

Postal Strike cloud has silver lining for motorists

The Postal Strike, Parking Tickets and Speed Cameras

For a speed camera prosecution to take place or a parking Penalty Charge Notice to be processed to Warrant of Execution stage it requires the documents to be correctly served.

For speeding a notice called a 'Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) - must be served on the vehicle's registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence.

For an Order for Recovery to be valid it must be served within 14 days of the Order being sealed by Northampton County Court Traffic Enforcement Centre.

With the current disruption to the postal service, these notices may not be served and motorists in time and therefore the motorist should not be prosecuted with regard to the speeding matter or should refer the matter back to the Court in the case of a parking Order for Recovery.

Responding to comments by celebrity lawyer, Nick Freeman, on Radio 4 this morning, Paul Smith, founder of, said:

"Every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case it appears that motorists will get a welcome respite from the flawed and failed speed camera policy."

"Once speed cameras have been scrapped we will all be able to go back to concentrating on the road ahead - and it won't be a day too soon."

"A vehicle owner receiving a notice more than 14 days after an alleged offence should mark the notice 'out of time', and return it from whence it came by recorded delivery. That should conclude the matter."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Famous Quotes applied to parking

"A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." George Bernard Shaw

"A council which 'fines' the motorist to pay (55p per ticket) the adjudicator can always depend on the support of the adjudicator?"
M I Wright

"Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

"Democracy must be something more than a councillor, a parking attendant, an adjudicator and a motorist deciding if parking controls are simply about raising money."
I M Wright, Civil Motorist (2007)

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
Ronald Reagan (1986)

British Government's view of the motorist could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves too fast, fine it. If it keeps moving charge it. If it stops moving, ticket it."

Fred Upp (2007)

F1 NED goes to London ...

First stop ... Camden and it was tipping it down.

The driving advert for headed south on Monday. With the registration number F1 NED and double yellow lines on the side and covered with parking tickets it was most certainly a head turner and didn't disappoint.

We spent Monday filming with BBC London in Camden ... beginning in Swain's Lane.

This followed a little visit six weeks or so ago where we attempted to get a ticket in the non-compliant bays. As usual it proved difficult and none of the Parking Attendants would issue.

However, one resident, London Motorist Action Group's Alex Henney, did park there and got a ticket. He appealed on the fact that the signs and lines were non-compliant and therefore should not be enforced ... and his ticket was cancelled.

Camden have since corrected ALL the unlawful bays in the street ... but not across the rest of Camden. If you want to know how to successfully appeal then visit

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blue Badge Discretion ... Will they, won't they?

The local authority can exercise discretion.

Well just do and be consistent ... same policy for all Blue Badge Holders. Sticking somebody with a £60 Penalty Charge Notice for a simple error is wholly disproportionate and especially for a 'first mistake,' but to keep them waiting, perhaps for weeks while you decide is despicable. The decision should be instant upon sight of the Blue Badge.

This is nothing more than highway robbery.

Dick Turpin wouldn't do this. A message for all council officials ... "Imagine how you would feel if this was YOUR Gran."

A message for the DfT ... is it beyond the realms of modern technology to have a windscreen Blue Badge Holder with a digital clock which is simply activated when parking up?

Clacton: 85-year-old vows to fight 'petty' fine
Claire Owen

Annoyed: Fay Douglas-Smith, with the parking ticket and her disability parking cards, as they were displayed on her dashboard.

An elderly blue badge holder is warning others not to get caught out by parking fines.
Fay Douglas-Smith, 85, was hit by a £30 penalty notice for parking with her permit displayed incorrectly, with the photograph to the front.
"It was so petty," said the great-grandmother of six, who lives on Church Road in Clacton.
"There was nothing wrong with the way I was parked - maybe the warden didn't like my picture!
"I am going to contest the fine because of the stupidity of it."
She added: "I want to tell other badge holders to be careful."

More ...

Lord Patel brands Blackburn's parking regime as "back-door taxation."

Remember Blackburn's dubious parking ticket and laughable road markings? Well, here they are again

The trouble is that they have picked on one of their civic leaders and he ain't happy.The penny is starting to drop that unregulated, uncontrolled decriminalised parking enforcement is nothing more than a stealth tax on the motorist:

Lord blasts parking fines
By Charlotte Bradshaw, Lancashire Telegraph

ANGER: Lord Patel wants a change to the parking system

A COMMUNITY leader has hit out at "over zealous" parking wardens after he received three tickets in a month. Lord Adam Patel, a founder member of Blackburn with Darwen Racial Equality Council, who was caught out twice in two days, has vowed to campaign for a change in the system, which he labelled "back-door taxation.

More ...

More Malice in Blunderland

Yet again the council looks for a fine solution.
First you create the business park ... but don't create enough parking provision nor do you ensure that there is adequate public transport.

Do you encourage or incentivise car sharing?

Do you apply pressure to transport operators to increase the frequency of the bus services?

Do you look to create a satellite car park with interlinking shuttle buses?

No. Its a lot simpler than that. You fine people for taking their cars to work who are then forced to park on public roads.

When the businesses cannot retain staff fed up with being fined they will look to relocate elsewhere, where a local authority has a little more vision that this one. Let's hope they have this Traffic Order correct.

Fines to curb problem parking
Lines of parked cars at Doxford International.

Sunderland Echo
By Marissa Carruthers

TOUGH measures are in place to put the brakes on problem parkers clogging up residential roads around Doxford International with drivers facing fines.
Residential areas near the business park were plagued with parking chaos after call centre employees were forced to leave their cars there all day because of a lack of parking at work.The business park is the biggest on Wearside and is home to more than 5,000 workers, but provides only half the amount of spaces.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just how accurate was that speed camera?

Dr. Tann has now launched his prototype for individual motorists. Click on the link on the left and check out FleetM8 Solo.

Scientist escapes speeding fine by using his own tracking system

Daily Mail
8th October 2007

A scientist escaped a speeding fine after a mobile phone system he devised showed that a police speed camera clocked him at 12mph more than he was going.
The new tracking system, likened to an aircraft's black box, could now be used to challenge the controversial issue of speed cameras. More ...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Perth and Kinross Parking Services ... Can we help you?

A call to the parking department met with a very defensive response to the question:

" Have you suspended enforcement because your Notices to Owner are non-compliant?"

"I can't comment. The person you need to speak to you is Fiona Reid."

"Can you put me through please?"

"She is not available. She is currently with the legal team."

"It figures. Thank you."

The e-mail to the council is below:

Fiona Reid
Parking Operations Manager
Perth and Kinross Council
2 High Street

5th October 2007

Dear Ms Reid,

I would be grateful if you could confirm that you have suspended / will be suspending forthwith, enforcement of all pending cases at post Notice to Owner stage due to the non-compliance of Perth and Kinross council's documents and that you will not be pursuing enforcement of Penalty Charge Notices.

Can you also confirm that all appellants have been informed and you will not be enforcing such non-compliant notices?

Do you intend to correct your non-compliant Notices and if so, which ones and can you please cite the reasons?

I would appreciate a response to these questions by return as the matter may be potentially prejudicial for any appellants within the system.

Separately, as a Freedom of Information request, can you please provide the following:

1. Copies of all communications regarding any changes to the wording of the Penalty Charge Notice, Notice to Owner, Notice of Rejection and the Charge Certificate and the dates and reasons any of these documents were / are to be amended.

2. The number of Notice to Owners issued from the commencement of DPE to date.

3. The number of cases referred to the Scottish Parking Adjudication Service since the inception of DPE.

4. The number of cases that have gone to Order for Recovery / Warrant stage and the money recovered?

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Herron

Perth and Kinross Council tumbles over parking tickets

... and the domino effect is likely to follow.

A few days ago we reported that Scottish Councils were about to be plunged into parking fine chaos ... again!

This arose from the fact that many Scottish Councils were using non-compliant Notices which did not allow the 28 days PLUS service for an appellant to reply, rather, they just allowed 28 days thereby shortening the period in which to appeal.

Our case, Mary Watson v Perth and Kinross Council was one where this defence was to be used. We had submitted evidence that the Notice to Owner was non-compliant.
The letter adjourning the case last Friday created the Sunday Post story here

And now ... after 7 months of hair-pulling frustration ... with Mary desperately awaiting a date for her case to be heard after the adjournment last Friday ... she got a letter yesterday from Perth and Kinross Council.

The have decided, after all this time with no explanation as to the reason, to not contest the case and have cancelled Mary's ticket.

As you will probably appreciate, Mary Watson is far from happy. Once blood pressure has returned to normal a civil case is expected but she has also insisted on a ruling by the adjudicator.

Perth and Kinross meanwhile will be rapidly redrafting their paperwork. Let us see what they are prepared to do with all other pending tickets.

For the avoidance of doubt see below ...

  • A driver has 28 days to pay or 'informally challenge' a Penalty Charge Notice after being issued with a ticket in the street. A 50% discount is available should the driver pay within 14 days.
  • If the PCN is not paid then a Notice to Owner will be sent to the Registered Keeper of the vehicle which allows them another 28 days beginning with the date of service of the Notice to Owner to either pay or formally appeal to the Council.
  • If the formal appeal is rejected they are sent a "notice of rejection" and another 28 days beginning with the date of service of the Notice of Rejection to either pay or appeal to the independent Scottish Parking Ajudication Service, otherwise they will be sent a Charge Certificate which will increase the Penalty by a further 50%.

It is the law that the notices must state that the 28 days begins from the date of service of the notice not from when they are issued.

The relevant sections of the law are shown below (with main points emphasised) with a link to the legislation (when it makes reference to the London authority this will have been amended when the council was granted Decriminalised Parking Enforcement powers).

The case which caused the beginnings of the rumblings was Lukha v Aylesbury Vale.

Trouble is that councils are too busy fining people to get the law right, but not many motorists have sympathy for them or their crocodile tears when they are caught breaking the law themselves.

1991 Road Traffic Act
Parking Penalties

The notice to owner

1 (1) Where—
(a) a penalty charge notice has been issued with respect to a vehicle under section 66 of this Act; and
(b) the period of 28 days for payment of the penalty charge has expired without that charge being paid,
the London authority concerned may serve a notice (“a notice to owner”) on the person who appears to them to have been the owner of the vehicle when the alleged contravention occurred.

(2) A notice to owner must state—
(a) the amount of the penalty charge payable;
(b) the grounds on which the parking attendant who issued the penalty charge notice believed that a penalty charge was payable with respect to the vehicle;
(c) that the penalty charge must be paid before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the notice to owner is served;
(d) that failure to pay the penalty charge may lead to an increased charge being payable;
(e) the amount of that increased charge;
(f) that the person on whom the notice is served (“the recipient”) may be entitled to make representations under paragraph 2 below; and
(g) the effect of paragraph 5 below.
(3) The Secretary of State may prescribe additional matters which must be dealt with in any notice to owner.

Rejection of representations against notice to owner

4 Where any representations are made under paragraph 2 above but the London authority concerned do not accept that a ground has been established, the notice served under paragraph 2(7) above (“the notice of rejection”) must
(a) state that a charge certificate may be served under paragraph 6 below unless before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date of service of the notice of rejection
(i) the penalty charge is paid; or
(ii) the person on whom the notice is served appeals to a parking adjudicator against the penalty charge;
(b) indicate the nature of a parking adjudicator’s power to award costs against any person appealing to him; and
(c) describe in general terms the form and manner in which an appeal to a parking adjudicator must be made,
and may contain such other information as the authority consider appropriate.

More information and standard letters can be found at

Just a Lidl parking fine

Now supermarket Lidl wants to drive its customers away by fining them for staying more than 90 minutes in their car park.

The Ealing Times reports...

Shopkeepers fight 'illegal' fines
By Alex Hayes
SHOPKEEPERS are fighting a supermarket over thousands of pounds of parking fines which they claim are illegal and killing trade in Hanwell.

A pub landlord has received £15,000 of fines since parking regulations in Lidl's car park off the Uxbridge Road, were changed in July. More ...

However, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Whilst I appreciate that Lidl has to strike a fine balance between keeping customers by not fining them and chasing customers away by not allowing them a Lidl leeway a simple understanding of the law is all the customers need.

Lidl are using an Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR) system that records 24 hours a day and fines everyone automatically, even by overstaying 1 minute ... very frustrating if you have ever been held up in a queue 'cos they don't have enough staff on (a frequent occurrence).

Then they will access the details from the DVLA ... of the Registered Keeper not the driver.

The 'contract' however, (to not park for more than 90 mins or be fined) which needs to be displayed in the car park is 'entered into' (either impliedly or expressly) by the DRIVER who may or may not be the Registered Keeper. There is no legal requirement to provide the identity of the driver.

We are exposing this across the country as more and more similar operations are springing up.

If anyone needs more info and standard letters then visit ParkingAppeals

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Things not fine in Asda car parks

Supermarket giant is now jumping on the car park fine bandwagon claiming it wants to 'clampdown on parking cheats' but it is likely that its' attempt at using Judge Dredd tactics will backfire.

The solution to errant parking is a simple one and it comes simply with a stern public warning from a trained Asda customer services employee. Simply announce over the tannoy that 'car x' is in a disabled bay without a badge and issue Asda 'mother and toddler' permits for customers.

The problem of going down the 'fine' route as that it is not a parking ticket as such, but a breach of a civil contract that the driver agrees to enter into when seeing the signs in the car park.

However, if the driver does not pay the firm tasked with issuing the fines ( Town and City Parking) will request the Registered Keeper details from the DVLA. There lies the trouble ... the Registerd Keeper may or may not be the driver, and is under no obligation whatsoever to identify the driver.

Once the criving population gets wise to this none of these 'civil contract' fines will be paid.

Then the problem remains.

So, Asda, stop being Judge Dredd and looking for a short term financial fix and using companies which will put their profit before Asda customers and go down the social and moral responsibility route with your own staff.
Private land parking fines are growing like a plague across the land and a lot more draconian than Asda's little attempt with stores seeing their customers as a revenue stream for daring to visit their store and stay too long.
Some retail parks stick a maximum 1 1/2 hour limit with signs often incorrectly worded or placed inappropriately. If you have been fined in such a manner visit and you will be given the information that the 'industry' does not want you to know.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

NPAS refuse access to appeals decisions

...unless you travel to Manchester!

They claim that they have had "difficulties with the electronic register" so that anyone wishing to view any NPAS decisions will have to do so 'in person.'

So, there you have it in black and white.
The National Parking Adjudication Service doesn't wish to expend some of its vast profits to make all decisions available online in an electronic format so we can all see how contrary and conflicting the adjudicator's decisions are.

Anyone from Durham or Northumberland wishing to access the paper record ... get yourself to Manchester.

Well, we will arrange a visit ... anyone up for assisting so we can pull out the evidence of instances where adjudicators have ignored the law (TSRGD 2002) or failed to check non-compliant paperwork and found in favour of the councils that pay their salaries then drop me a line

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Today the Government wanted to check out my home

... for statistical purposes!

My home had been 'selected at random' in order to produce a statistical analysis of home types and conditions across the country.

The 'interviewer' turned up today with an official badge and asked to come in. I apologised for keeping her standing on the step while I nipped inside and got something.

On my return I produced a tape recorder to ensure that there wasn't any misunderstanding at any point in the future and I then politely refused her access.

I pointed out that I did not want the condition or content of my home recorded by any Government agency ... regardless of the reason.

"But we just want to check on matters such as energy efficiency."

I pointed out that as she didn't have a set of ladders to check the loft insulation nor have any tools to check the width and content of the wall cavities then that would be a pretty worthless task.

I then went on to point out that I did not want ANY Government agency to access this data, never mind all of them.

"Ah, but the data will be anonymous" she said.

I pointed out that she had my house number and address ... it was on the letter sent to me, therefore, it was not beyond the realms of rocket science to check the electoral register ... another document available to ALL public officials and add that to the fact that they could also check my phone records and bank account it would only be a matter of time before the hospital would want to set up the appointment for the anal probe!

She seemed a little amazed and staggered when I mentioned the fact that a great raft of agencies now had access to telephone records.

"That can't be true. It would never happen."

I excused myself again, and impoloitely left her standing on the doorstep. Minutes later I returned with a copy of the Statutory Instrument bringing into force ... the European Directive giving a raft of agencies access to telephone records which I had printed off minutes earlier.

"I can assure you that this would not happen with this survey ... would you like to reconsider?"

The day I allow government inspectors to intrude into all aspects of my personal life will be ... and just then I looked up and for a moment and saw the following:

Even10 years ago if somebody had told me the following:

"The Government will be given access to details of every phone call in Britain."

"By 2009 the Government will extend the rules to cover internet use: the websites we have visited, the people we have emailed and phone calls made over the net."

"Thousands of staff in other agencies will be legally entitled to retrieve the records..."

"Similar provisions are being brought in across Europe, .."

"The process allows the Government to alter laws without a full act of Parliament."

"It puts into UK law a European Directive....."

I would have said you have more chance of seeing a pig fly over my house.

Today I saw the squadron.
After witnessing the persecution of greengrocer Steve Thoburn as the result of a 'European Directive' and what happens when laws are made without being discussed and debated by Parliament and now today's 'law' when will the silentmajority reach tipping point?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Remember that Blackburn with Darwen parking ticket?

Car parked deliberately in unlawful bay abutted with TRIPLE YELLOW lines ... location Duke Street.

Parking Attendant without hat or tie spends a good five minutes gathering evidence

Penalty Charge Notice gratefully accepted

Challenge made to the Council regarding the validity of the lines ...

No response. Telephone call and e-mail initiates complaint ...

"Where is my Notice to Owner?"

Got the response ...

" this Penalty Charge Notice has been cancelled 'as the Parking Attendant had incorrectly entered your vehicle registration number into his handheld computer."

Nice and convenient. Meanwhile, can anyone in Blackburn tell me whether the bays are still being enforced and have they been remarked yet ... while my Freedom of Information Request is pending.

Fine warning for councils ... a very bad sign

A you couldn't get much worse than this.

At first we thought it was the work of Banksy or some other graffiti artist creating Disabled Bays for arts sake instead of for the law's sake.

But it appears not ... it seems to be the work of a Council in the South of England who will presently remain nameless (while we build up evidence of their unlawful activity) and it seems to have been put down with a spray can and home made template rather than complying with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 ...THE LAW!!!

The law is simply one click away ... here

How hard was that? Yet this council not only didn't do that in this instance, but it also appears that there are hundreds of similar errors across the borough.

Is this the worst sign in the country or can you send us a better (or worse) example?

NCP spokesman forced to admit parking ticket bonus statement ...

Following on from the story below NCP and Camden's parking woes go from bad to worse as NCP spokesman Tim Cowen is forced to admit that the Parking Attendant whistleblower did tell the truth.

If ever evidence was needed that local authority parking enforcement and private contractors do not lead to good practice this is it. Incentives and bonuses however much it is denied by councils and contractors do exist. The more tickets issued the more money for the contractors and the council. It ain't rocket science to work out that that is not a good recipe for a fair, transparent and proportionate system. However, tie in the fact that the adjudication bodies also have a direct beneficial financial relationship based on the number of tickets and you have a recipe for disaster ... which is why we are where we are at!

NCP admits: Whistleblower told the truth
27 September 2007

PARKING giant NCP has apologised to the Ham&High and admitted that a warden was told his bonus was dependent on tickets issued. More ...

NCP 'breaks' Law ... and denies paying bonuses

... but this time it is actor Jude Law. How 'broken' he was after being clamped is not reported but the Parking Attendant who clamped the actor has lifted the lid on Camden's parking regime - claiming that wardens get cash bonuses if they slap large numbers of tickets on residents.
His revelations are strenuously denied by NCP bosses ... bonuses for tickets? ... this was robustly defended by NCP spokesman Tim Cowen.

Jude Law's parking nemesis reveals how wardens issue tickets for cash

06 September 2007

A FORMER traffic warden has lifted the lid on Camden's parking regime - claiming that wardens get cash bonuses if they slap large numbers of tickets on residents. he story can be seen below. More ...

Scottish Parking Appeals Chaos ...

Paperwork Problem halts Parking Appeals ... councils using notices that do not comply with the law.

The following story was reported in the Sunday Post yesterday and can be read here but it follows from our call to the Scottish Parking Adjudication Service where it was revealed that all hearings had been adjourned pending a decision by SPAS adjudicators.

This arises from evidence being supplied by appellants, in our case from Mary Watson in Perth and Kinross that the council were using documentaion that did not comply with the law.

As a result, SPAS are expected to make a ruling striking down all such non-compliant documents and forcing councils to abandon enforcement in all pending cases.

Why then has NPAS the adjudication body for England and Wales done the same? Very simple ... to do so would create a problem for their revenue stream as they receive 55p from every PCN issued and striking down tickets in bulk would affect their income.

To find out more and how you can simply check your Notices to Owner and Notices of Rejection visit

Big Brother? ... Big Bother?

The Government seem to be quite open about the fact that can snoop on all their citizens' communications simply "because they can".

Although they claim that it is 'very unlikely' the powers would be used against non-payers of council tax or for parking fines 'as the sums involved are not sufficient to justify the use of this sort of information or the costs involved in applying it' it doesn't mean that they won't.

If they have the power then they will.

Just imagine being a parking campaigner exposing local authorities acting unlawfully ... will they use the powers to check telephone calls, bank accounts and other personal details then? What staggers me is the fact that hardly a whimper is heard from the public

Niemöller's poem tells the story of Europe's refusal to stand up to the Nazis while they still had time:

When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
What personal freedom are YOU prepared to sacrifice before YOU stand up to be counted? Who would ever have believed 20 years ago that an Englishman could have a conviction for selling bananas by the pound? ...and that council officers would be able to access your telephone records and bank account details?

When the day comes where your every move is monitored and recorded either from face recognition software on CCTV cameras linked to a central database or from your vehicle movements monitored by Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems on every road in the country or from GPS tracking via your mobile phone how free will you feel then?

Big Brother Britain: Government and councils to spy on ALL our phones
29th September 2007

Officials from the top of Government to lowly council officers will be given unprecedented powers to access details of every phone call in Britain under laws coming into force tomorrow. More ...

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