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