Caped vigilante claims council wrongfully made more than £5m from erroneous penalty charge notices

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The Black Beret outside Waltham Forest Town Hall. The Black Beret outside Waltham Forest Town Hall.

A caped vigilante claims Waltham Forest Council wrongfully claimed over £5million from traffic tickets.

The Black Beret, a campaigner who helps motorists across London appeal penalty charge notices, says the wording on tickets issued for moving traffic contraventions cheats drivers out of two days of the appeal period, thus voiding the charge.

Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) adjudicators have confirmed the erroneous wording in several cases and overturned tickets.

But the council, having altered the relevant wording three times since 2011, says no motorists have been disadvantaged.

“The council has had historic difficulties with the wording of its penalty charge notices (PCNs) for moving traffic contraventions since their inception, as PATAS adjudicators have decided,” The Black Beret said.

“The councillor responsible should ensure that all monies are refunded and the current head of parking should resign.

“The parking department illustrates a total failure to understand various legislations by, for example, citing a legal ground on which to make representations which does not exist for this particular contravention.”

Having successfully appealed dozens of cases in other boroughs The Black Beret has turned his attention to Waltham Forest.

He said the authority has opted not to contest tickets with the suspect wording when confronted.

The PCNs in question say a person has 28 days from the date of notice to appeal, when it should say 28 days from date of service, he claims.

A freedom of information request showed that since May 17 2010 there have been 94,299 PCNs issued for moving traffic contraventions, which carry the suspect wording, generating £5,661,116.58 for the council.

PATAS rulings do not set a legal precedent and motorists must appeal on a case-by-case basis.

A council spokesman said it is important for the authority to pursue reckless motorists who carry out moving traffic violations.

“The council has worked hard to strike the right balance between making the information on PCNs user-friendly, while maintaining the necessary level of detail and does not believe it has in any way disadvantaged motorists by carrying wording on its PCNs,” the spokesman added.

Comments (9)

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3:01pm Thu 20 Feb 14

ceegriffin says...

Not a Beret, not Black. Vigilante name fail.

How about 'The Inexplicable Potato' instead?
Not a Beret, not Black. Vigilante name fail. How about 'The Inexplicable Potato' instead? ceegriffin

3:39pm Thu 20 Feb 14

mdj says...

He's still doing a useful job. This council has a sorry record of inventing signage not in the book, accruing massive amounts illegally from invalid road markings, and submitting false evidence to the appeal tribunal.

I f you're caught on a camera, they will clip the footage to the minimum necessary to indicate an offence, even if this means hiding the evidence that you had broken down and were waiting for a tow.
In any other context, we'd call that perjury.

The Council is still in possession of tens of thousands of pounds levied at an illegal box junction in Leytonstone from several years ago.
In any other context we'd call that theft.
He's still doing a useful job. This council has a sorry record of inventing signage not in the book, accruing massive amounts illegally from invalid road markings, and submitting false evidence to the appeal tribunal. I f you're caught on a camera, they will clip the footage to the minimum necessary to indicate an offence, even if this means hiding the evidence that you had broken down and were waiting for a tow. In any other context, we'd call that perjury. The Council is still in possession of tens of thousands of pounds levied at an illegal box junction in Leytonstone from several years ago. In any other context we'd call that theft. mdj

12:14am Fri 21 Feb 14

fabster says...

I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.
I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards. fabster

10:11am Fri 21 Feb 14

mdj says...

If those are the facts they're breaking the law, Fabster.
S16 of the Theft Act covers what you're describing; probably others if you look. A line to the chief legal officer Mr Fenwick, stating a date when you will make a complaint of theft against him, may help a little.

One thing that apparatchiks hate is publicity: nowadays we can all put comments on the Web that will serve as references the next time they're looking for a job!
If those are the facts they're breaking the law, Fabster. S16 of the Theft Act covers what you're describing; probably others if you look. A line to the chief legal officer Mr Fenwick, stating a date when you will make a complaint of theft against him, may help a little. One thing that apparatchiks hate is publicity: nowadays we can all put comments on the Web that will serve as references the next time they're looking for a job! mdj

12:23pm Sun 23 Feb 14

Walthamster says...

Criminals keep on breaking the law if they can get away with it. We've seen Waltham Forest council get away with it in numerous ways, over many years. Various local people have made complaints to higher authorities, backed with evidence. Still nothing effective gets done.

From my own experience, I'd recommend:

1 - Write to the local paper, to Private Eye, to national media. Wrong-doers hate publicity, even if it doesn't immediately stop them. Private Eye in particular has a section called Rotten Boroughs where Waltham Forest has made frequent appearances.

2 - oppose any efforts by government to give more power to local councils! That doesn't put power into ordinary people's hands. Where power is held by small cliques or special-interest groups, it would increase their power, not ours.
Criminals keep on breaking the law if they can get away with it. We've seen Waltham Forest council get away with it in numerous ways, over many years. Various local people have made complaints to higher authorities, backed with evidence. Still nothing effective gets done. From my own experience, I'd recommend: 1 - Write to the local paper, to Private Eye, to national media. Wrong-doers hate publicity, even if it doesn't immediately stop them. Private Eye in particular has a section called Rotten Boroughs where Waltham Forest has made frequent appearances. 2 - oppose any efforts by government to give more power to local councils! That doesn't put power into ordinary people's hands. Where power is held by small cliques or special-interest groups, it would increase their power, not ours. Walthamster

2:21pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Villagecranberry says...

fabster wrote:
I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.
Paras Bravas in the Tapas in the Village is the best
[quote][p][bold]fabster[/bold] wrote: I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.[/p][/quote]Paras Bravas in the Tapas in the Village is the best Villagecranberry

5:48pm Tue 25 Feb 14

VillageIdiot69 says...

fabster wrote:
I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.
Take them to small claims court then fabster, I would, takes 15 minutes to fill out the paperwork.
[quote][p][bold]fabster[/bold] wrote: I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.[/p][/quote]Take them to small claims court then fabster, I would, takes 15 minutes to fill out the paperwork. VillageIdiot69

9:33pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Villagecranberry says...

VillageIdiot69 wrote:
fabster wrote:
I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.
Take them to small claims court then fabster, I would, takes 15 minutes to fill out the paperwork.
And £70
[quote][p][bold]VillageIdiot69[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]fabster[/bold] wrote: I'm still waiting for a refund from 5 years ago even though PATAS ruled the High street 'no through traffic' signage to be 'ambiguous, confusing and not in line with traffic signage guidelines'. In other words, this council continues to rake it in even though they have been told by an independent adjudicator that their High street signs are non compliant with national standards.[/p][/quote]Take them to small claims court then fabster, I would, takes 15 minutes to fill out the paperwork.[/p][/quote]And £70 Villagecranberry

8:28am Mon 3 Mar 14

emilysw19 says...

What a stupid disguise thats clearly Phil Morgan a busker from Claygate in Surrey who plays the violin....badly!
What a stupid disguise thats clearly Phil Morgan a busker from Claygate in Surrey who plays the violin....badly! emilysw19

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