Council to repay 'spy car' fines
A council is to repay drivers more than £1 million after they were wrongly issued parking tickets by "spy cars", it was announced.
The problem was spotted by a motorist who showed "good old British doggedness" in his complaint, and now thousands of people will receive a rebate.
Richmond Council dished out around 18,500 penalty charge notices (PCNs) between April 2009 and April 2011 after it used incorrectly certified CCTV patrol cars.
Lord True, the council leader, said: "The council took money from people when we were not entitled to. That was wrong, and the wrong should be put right."
The cars issued the notices to motorists who had committed apparent parking violations, but the independent Parking Tribunal Service (Patas) ruled the council was wrong to issue the tickets.
Speaking to the full council, Lord True added: "We will write to the registered owner of every vehicle against which a ticket was issued by our camera cars inviting them to apply for a refund.
"This is the just and proportionate action to take. The spy cars have been taken off the road until a full review of our parking service reports back to me by November.
"For too long people have perceived local authorities as acting in a predatory and money grabbing manner when it comes to parking enforcement. We are putting our money where our mouth is, this proves that Richmond Council is on the side of local people, local businesses, and motorists."
"I pay tribute to the motorist who pointed out the problem. His good old British doggedness has ultimately led the council to this decision."
The council said the decision to repay the motorists was taken even though the it is not legally compelled to do so.