Sheffield motorist mistaken for road sweeper

Jonathan Palgrave with his Tiger racing car.
Jonathan Palgrave with his Tiger racing car.
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Bungling Sheffield Council slapped a motorist with a £60 fine after accusing him of driving in a city bus lane - in one of its own road sweepers.

Company director Jonathan Palgrave, aged 32, was stunned to receive the penalty charge notice - despite never visiting Sheffield in his life.

Documentation showing a Sheffield City Council roadsweeper driving in a bus lane.

Documentation showing a Sheffield City Council roadsweeper driving in a bus lane.

Jonathan - who lives almost 100 miles away in Spalding, Lincolnshire, was ordered to cough up £60 in a letter which had a picture of his offending vehicle enclosed.

However, the ‘evidence’ caught on camera clearly showed a Sheffield Council worker wearing a fluorescent jacket driving around the city in his road sweeper on August 21.

Baffled Jonathan, who drives a Tiger kit car - and has never owned a road sweeper - was left fuming by the fine until he realised the hilarious error.

It wasn’t until he checked the picture closer that he realised the number plate of the lumbering wagon was one letter out from that of his lightweight sports car.

But when Jonathan contacted Sheffield Council to point out its mistake he was stunned to be told he must still go through a statutory complaints procedure before the fine could be overturned.

He was also told the penalty could rise to £90 if he failed to pay within 28 days, and threatened with possible legal action if it still wasn’t paid after that.

Today Jonathan said: “It’s just been a bureaucratic nightmare and it makes you wonder if it has happened before.

“It makes you want to know if it’s all automated or if someone looks at what they are actually sending out.

“I think I might write back on the form ‘have a look on the back’ so they look and see their own sweeper.

“When I first got it I just thought, ‘Oh my God, where have I been?’. I thought I was going to have to pay the fine.

“Then I realised I have never been to Sheffield in my life, let alone driven there.

“When I turned over the form I just laughed - there was a picture of this huge sweeper just sweeping the kerb.

“They must have mistaken the E in my car’s registration for the B in the sweepers, that’s the difference - other than them being completely different vehicles of course.

“I’m almost tempted to wait and take this to court and see what they say then.

“I’ve felt every emotion going - at first I was angry, then confused, and now I can’t help but laugh about it.

“To send a picture of their own vehicle, which they will have records of, is brilliant. They should really check from time to time.”

Married Jonathan has owned the £17,000 kit car for three months.

He added: “I’m happy with my kit car for now - but perhaps I could avoid any potential parking and speeding tickets in future if I bought a council road sweeper.”

A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “The ticket has now been cancelled, and we apologise for the confusion.

“This is the first time this kind of mistake has happened.

“If the gentleman had contacted us as soon as he received the penalty notice, we would have cancelled it immediately.”