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Gerwetu
Yesterday, around 13:00, I left my car parked on the following road in North London.

http://goo.gl/maps/z3EVS

The car was parked where the gutter/cone are, obviously on the road not the pavement etc. The road has no parking restrictions of any sort, my car if fully legal (taxed, MOTs, insured).

When I returned in the evening it was gone. I phoned 101 and got told it was in the Met Police car pound (initially I thought it got stolen). Apparently it was removed as it was causing an obstruction to a TFL bus.

I was parked on the same side of the road as everyone else. The car was NOT obstructing the road, I have parked in exactly the same location many times for weeks on end for the past couple of months never with an issue.

I've just been to my local police station, the duty PO managed to talk with the FPN issuing PO who claims the car was parked ok but was causing an obstruction. I feel VERY strongly that my car was not causing an obstruction and that the penalty is unfair. So far I have paid £150 for the tow away plus a £40 fine.

My question is, should I request a court hearing to present my case? What costs would be involved if I loose?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
Chaseman
This should be in "Speeding and other Criminal Offences" (that includes FPNs). A moderator will move it. In passing, how did the Police Officer manage to claim that the car was parked OK but was causing an obstruction? In that case it definitely would not have been parked OK. Is it possible that all was OK when you parked, but then another vehicle parked on the other side of the road that caused your car to look as though it was the obstruction? Are there any pictures taken by Police?
Gerwetu
QUOTE (Chaseman @ Mon, 8 Jul 2013 - 18:39) *
This should be in "Speeding and other Criminal Offences" (that includes FPNs). A moderator will move it. In passing, how did the Police Officer manage to claim that the car was parked OK but was causing an obstruction? In that case it definitely would not have been parked OK. Is it possible that all was OK when you parked, but then another vehicle parked on the other side of the road that caused your car to look as though it was the obstruction? Are there any pictures taken by Police?


Thanks for your reply. What you say the the other car is what likely happened, unfortunately I don't have much evidence to prove this at the moment. I would like to find out if there are any pictures taken by the issuing PO, but am unsure on how to go about finding this out?

Another idea would be to ask CCTV footage from the bus company (Arriva), although I don't know how to go about this either (I suspect just phoning up won't cut it) and am also unsure as to whether there are any forward facing cameras onboard.
Chaseman
I am aware that most if not all London buses have forward facing cameras on board, primarily for the protection of the driver in case he is attacked/abused. However, they also record what is happening in front of the bus. I know this because I had cause to complain (I think to Arriva) when a bus steamed through a red light and almost took me off my bike. They examined the CCTV and the driver was bang to rights. So it's worth asking.

While councils typically post up images taken by CEOs on their website, I am not sure what is standard protocol with the police. I would start by ringing whatever number is on the FPN and asking. I would also make a "contemporaneous note", as the lawyers would say, of your discussion with the policeman who said "the car was parked OK but causing an obstruction" for later use.
JP1978
The tree opposite where you parked seems awfully low and a tfl double decker wouldn't get under that.

Move the google view a little and you can see the tree. Could that be the issue? Although how the hell you are supposed to account for that I don't know.
Korting
As far as I know any buses on that road are single deckers.
sgtdixie
It is perfectly possible for a vehicle to be parked lawfully but then due to a change in circumstances be causing an obstruction. The obstruction will be a question of fact in such a cases and the Police are perfectly entitled to have a vehicle removed at the owners expense if it is causing an obstruction.

The question is exactly why was it deemed to be causing an obstruction. Put simply if the bus driver felt it was not possible to safely pass your vehicle it was causing an obstruction. In most cases like this it ends up being because someone else has parked in such a way as to make your car the odd one out. It is also possible for car drivers not to appreciate the difficulties in maneuvering a large vehicle through a chicane type gap. I consider it unlikely the bus driver simply invented this as he will be closely scrutinised by his own management for being late. Likewise the person who issued the penalty and arranged the recovery must have believed there was a problem.

If another vehicle compounded the situation it does not make you free of responsibility it simply increases the number of people who can get towed/fined.

Get the full facts and come back.
NeilNeil
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Wed, 10 Jul 2013 - 17:52) *
It is perfectly possible for a vehicle to be parked lawfully but then due to a change in circumstances be causing an obstruction. The obstruction will be a question of fact in such a cases and the Police are perfectly entitled to have a vehicle removed at the owners expense if it is causing an obstruction.


Why should the owner have to pay if it was not their fault?
timbstoke
QUOTE (NeilNeil @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 10:45) *
Why should the owner have to pay if it was not their fault?


If removing their vehicle removed the obstruction, then it follows that they *were* at fault, even if they were not causing an obstruction at the time they parked.
jdh
There was a ticket appealed on here a few months back where the driver fell foul of this, they parked on an empty street but came back to a line of parked cars the other side of the road and a ticket on their car.
NeilNeil
QUOTE (timbstoke @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 11:03) *
If removing their vehicle removed the obstruction, then it follows that they *were* at fault, even if they were not causing an obstruction at the time they parked.


That kind of implies that they have a duty to keep an eye on their parked car all the time it is parked, such that they are in a position to move it should something change such as to result in it being an obstruction. This doesn't seem right?
StuartBu
QUOTE (jdh @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 14:17) *
There was a ticket appealed on here a few months back where the driver fell foul of this, they parked on an empty street but came back to a line of parked cars the other side of the road and a ticket on their car.


I knew I'd read of such a scenario before in here
I can't find the one I was thinking of...this is the nearest Google returns
http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showto...66270&st=40
sgtdixie
QUOTE (NeilNeil @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 14:19) *
QUOTE (timbstoke @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 11:03) *
If removing their vehicle removed the obstruction, then it follows that they *were* at fault, even if they were not causing an obstruction at the time they parked.


That kind of implies that they have a duty to keep an eye on their parked car all the time it is parked, such that they are in a position to move it should something change such as to result in it being an obstruction. This doesn't seem right?

It may not seem right but it is effectively what the law requires. Any vehicle left on a road is causing an obstruction to a greater or lesser extent. It has never been the case that a vehicle could be left on a road for an indeterminate time without risk of prosecution should the circumstances change.

Whilst doing abnormal loads movements I had lots of vehicles towed as we couldn't get past. In many cases the drivers would have been unaware that an abload was due. It didn't alter the fact that as a result of their car we couldn't pass.

There are 2 distinct issues here. The requirement to remove a vehicle causing an obstruction and the responsibility of the driver to pay for this. And the causing of an unnecessary obstruction for which you can be fined. In the abload case we didn't ticket the driver as we took the view that they were in normal circumstances parked lawfully, but they were as a question of fact obstructing the road so got towed.

In this case the TFL bus will almost certainly have CCTV so there should be no dispute as to whether there was an actual obstruction. If there was the OP will have to pay, if not he will still have to pay to get the car back but as in the linked thread be able to claim this back and have the FPN voided.
NeilNeil
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 17:42) *
It may not seem right but it is effectively what the law requires.


Thanks for the comprehensive reply. It makes sense.
Gerwetu
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Fri, 12 Jul 2013 - 17:42) *
It may not seem right but it is effectively what the law requires. Any vehicle left on a road is causing an obstruction to a greater or lesser extent. It has never been the case that a vehicle could be left on a road for an indeterminate time without risk of prosecution should the circumstances change.

Whilst doing abnormal loads movements I had lots of vehicles towed as we couldn't get past. In many cases the drivers would have been unaware that an abload was due. It didn't alter the fact that as a result of their car we couldn't pass.

There are 2 distinct issues here. The requirement to remove a vehicle causing an obstruction and the responsibility of the driver to pay for this. And the causing of an unnecessary obstruction for which you can be fined. In the abload case we didn't ticket the driver as we took the view that they were in normal circumstances parked lawfully, but they were as a question of fact obstructing the road so got towed.

In this case the TFL bus will almost certainly have CCTV so there should be no dispute as to whether there was an actual obstruction. If there was the OP will have to pay, if not he will still have to pay to get the car back but as in the linked thread be able to claim this back and have the FPN voided.


Thanks for this reply. Unfortunately I have been taken by events at work so have not been able to contact Aviva yet to request the CCTV (on a related note, any advice on how to request this from the is welcome).

The tow away cost £150 while the fine is £40. To be honest, having already paid the £150, I wouldn't bother contesting the alleged contravention if its only to remove the cost of the £40 fine but I would remain liable for the tow cost. Are you saying that, should I be found 'not guilty' on appealing the fine, I would still be liable for the towing cost? This doesn't make sense to my mind as, once it is ascertained that I was parked ok and am therefore not guilty, then the tow cost has also become redundant.

Thanks also for the link to the other case, its quite similar.

To answer the question re size of the bus, its one of the small "Optare" models, exactly this one to be precise:

Gerwetu

As an update, I called Arriva which were completely unhelpful and said that they could not provide me with the CCTV footage. They could only provide it if the police requested it.

I called the police prosecution phone service (or something like that) and I was told that:

a) If I enter an appeal it would be against the PFN but not necessarily the tow charge, although she wasn't sure (!) as she normally deals with insurance/speeding offences;
b) The police could request the CCTV footage as part of the evidence but to have this I need to enter the appeal;
c) By entering the appeal in case I am found guilty there would be court costs (£125 inc victims surcharge) plus the fine could be raised by the magistrates based on means testing. She did say the most likely scenario would be £80 but couldn't confirm
d) I would not be able to see the statement submitted by the police until I have entered the appeal.

Given the impossibility to have any evidence before actually appealing and therefore potentially being liable for a total of £305 (£150 +125 +80) I feel that I have no option but to pay the £40 FPN and "lump it". To be honest, doesn't feel quite right to me that one cannot have any evidence until an appeal process is commenced.

Final result:
The system 1 v The individual 0

sad.gif

The Rookie
Not strictly an appeal, you reject the FPN and go to court, you can't appeal yet as you've not been convicted.

FPN's are deisgned to reward those who admit guilt with lower costs than was the case before FPN's were introduced, of course the opposite could now be seen to be the case. Take it to court and yes it could cost a lot more, even if you win it doesn't prove the removal wasn't justified and some police forces don't refund automatically, others do.....

Of course if you were guilty it's system 1 v you 0 on merit.............
dawmdt
If you are going to challenge it, may I suggest you put Arriva on notice to store a copy of said video pending a court case as otherwise they'll probably wipe it after a week or so.
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