Is it worth fighting unfair parking fines?

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SHEFFIELD parking officers dish out thousands of uncontested tickets every year - but challenging them can be well worth it, as one motorist discovered.

In Sheffield in the year to March 2010, some 56,312 parking fines were issued, but only 162 people appealed, or a minuscule 0.29 per cent.

But of those that did appeal, a huge 60 per cent won.

Mohammed Bashir was one of them - and his case calls into question the validity of dozens of tickets.

In February he stopped in one of four bays outside Barclays bank in Barkers Pool, Sheffield city centre.

He crossed double yellow lines, which continue straight down the street, to enter a bay. There are no other lines or signs.

Unsure, Mohammed, aged 29, asked a parking officer whether he was free to stop there and was told ‘yes’. The officer also said some colleagues and senior managers were confused as to whether a restriction applied.

But on his return a different warden had slapped a ticket on his car for £70 - or £35 if he paid it within two weeks.

He appealed to the council but was turned down. He then appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal - and won. Adjudicator Stephen Knapp said he had ‘no hesitation’ in accepting Mohammed’s version of events.

The business studies lecturer, of Page Hall Road, Page Hall, said: “I feel very relieved, but if even those policing these bays are confused then how are ordinary drivers supposed to know? Officers act as judge and jury, yet they can make mistakes.”

Lawyer Safiya Hussain, of NoParkingFine.com, said: “I expect the local authority to do the fair thing and give refunds. My advice to people who receive a fine is to take photographs of the signs and road markings and have them checked by us regardless of whether they believe it was rightly given or not. There’s a 60 per cent chance it is not legally valid. Inadequate signage is the most common reason.”