Businessman wins parking ticket fight

A DISGRUNTLED motorist has won a seven-month battle over a parking ticket after a court case into the dispute was thrown out.

Dave Gooderham

A DISGRUNTLED motorist has won a seven-month battle over a parking ticket after a court case into the dispute was thrown out.

Businessman David Edwards, who argued a sign warning motorists they could only stop short term in the bay where he parked was obscured, said he was “jubilant” that common sense had won through.

He now hopes his successful decision not to pay the fine and have the matter dealt with in court could encourage other drivers fined in North Street, Sudbury, to fight to have their money refunded.

Mr Edwards, who lives in nearby Long Melford, said: “I didn't want to go to court but I am glad that common sense won through.

“When I went to court, I took photographs of how the sign could be obscured by people going out of a fast food outlet and having a cigarette.

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“I showed them to the prosecution and they immediately dropped the case. They might have warning signs but I never saw them as when people are outside they are continually obscured. The signs will have to be moved to make them more visible. I am a regular visitor to Sudbury and even I didn't know they were there.”

Mr Edwards, who runs Melford Antiques and Interiors, was given the fine in June of last year as he parked up in North Street but failed to see signs stating it was limited time only.

He claimed the signs, which are positioned on a wall, were blocked by people smoking outside a restaurant in the street but his pleas fell on deaf ears when he spoke to the police community support officer who gave him a ticket.

The antiques dealer eventually went to court over the unpaid fine but prosecutors dropped the case after seeing the photographic evidence supplied by Mr Edwards.

He said: “I spent a few minutes looking for a sign but I couldn't see anything at all. I came back and saw a traffic warden giving me a parking ticket and when he showed me where the sign was, I said it must have been obscured. He just said 'that's what they all say'. Mine was a genuine case but all I did was get laughed at. The wardens are over-zealous and there is no consistency.”

Poor signage was blamed on the massive rise in parking fines when a new ticketing system was introduced by Babergh District Council in August in the town's short-stay car parks.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, which is in charge of parking signs, said: “We will look into this issue and see if there is any possibility for change.”

Suffolk police said they did not wish to comment on the case.