Toilet roll cheque man punished

A MOTORIST who attempted to pay his parking fine on two pieces of toilet paper has been given an appropriately unusual court punishment.

Dave Gooderham

A MOTORIST who attempted to pay his parking fine on two pieces of toilet paper has been given an appropriately unusual court punishment.

Richard Roper, 63, appeared at Sudbury magistrates this morning and was asked by District Judge David Cooper if he would sit at the back of court for today's proceedings as a form of punishment.

Roper, who lives in Roman Way, Long Melford, signed the £30 toilet paper cheque as a “peaceful protest” over the parking fine administered by Suffolk Constabulary in September.

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But he was hauled into court when he refused to pay an additional £15 to have the cheque processed by ticket administrators, Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS). Roper told magistrates the toilet roll cheque was meant to be a light-hearted gesture and was never malicious.

He claimed that the parking ticket had been issued by a police community support officer in an “over-zealous” manner with his vehicle parked half in a bay and half illegally in a cul-de-sac in North Street, Sudbury.

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He said: “This is not a case of not wishing or refusing to pay, but a case of the authorities not accepting my payment. What I did was done in good humour.

“The correspondence (with police and HMCS) went back and forth and I was first told that it was an invalid cheque. I wrote back to say it was fine as it contained all the legal information required.”

Roper informed the court that his Natwest bank had investigated the matter “fully” and found that a cheque on toilet paper was acceptable as long as it had the same information as a standard cheque.

When asked what he would have done if a customer had given him a similar method of payment, Roper, a retired company director, told the court: “I would have accepted the cheque, paid any additional fees and then sent him a receipt, also written on toilet paper. I would have entered into the spirit of things.

“I did not do this maliciously, it was done in good spirits as a peaceful protest against something I thought was unjust.”

In a letter to Suffolk Constabulary's Central Ticket Office, which was read out in court, Roper wrote: “It now only leaves me to enclose my payment, which you will see has been written on stationery which aptly reflects my feeling towards the system.

“You, however, may console yourselves in the fact that the stationery I have selected has not first been used for the purpose for which it was designed.”

District Judge Cooper said: “I would like to offer you a day at the back of the court as a way of paying your debt to society. “Although I can't say it will be very enlightening.”

Roper, who was spared the additional £15 fine, accepted the punishment telling the judge he would be “delighted” to observe court proceedings.

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