First trip out with baby ends in £400 bill

Shane  and Jaimie O'Brien
Shane and Jaimie O'Brien
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A FIRST trip out in the car ended up costing a family £400 because of a row over a £2.20 parking ticket.

Shane O’Byrne and wife Jamie O’Byrne have been left disgusted with the way they say they have been treated after being given a parking fine.

Over a two-year period, the row escalated from an initial £25 fine to bailiffs knocking on the door and demanding £400.

Mr O’Byrne, of Lindley Avenue, Southsea has now paid the £400 to Chichester District Council, but is angry with the way the case was handled.

The saga started on March 20, 2013 when the couple went to Chichester for a first trip out with their newborn baby Cristabelle.

Mr O’Byrne, a self-employed marketing consultant, said: ‘We parked in a marked bay within the Orchard Street car park and purchased a ticket.

‘As this was the first time we’d taken our first child out of the house it was all a bit of an ordeal getting her and the buggy out, out of the way of other traffic and in my haste I failed to attach the ticket firmly to the windscreen.

‘On our return to the car I found a parking ticket on the windscreen and found my ticket on the floor just under the driver’s seat.

‘As this was an unfortunate occurrence I assumed that it would be cleared up by us sending a letter and the actual ticket to Chichester council explaining what had happened, which is what I did.

‘I was therefore a little shocked to hear that the council were not interested in my story.’

The council did not cancel the fine and several letters were sent between both parties over several months.

Mr O’Byrne moved address from Eldon Street and says he informed the council of this.

But in January of this year bailiffs turned up at the wrong house – where Mr O’Bryne has tenants – and demanded payment or to take belongings to the value of £400.

Mr O’Byrne believes the saga has been a waste of time and money for the council.

‘I understand there is a process but common sense should have prevailed,’ he said.

‘It was a £2.20 ticket that I actually bought.

‘I can’t understand why local government can’t use common sense.’ In a letter to the council he stated: ‘All I ever asked is that a government and therefore taxpayer funded organisation treated this case with common sense and that they did not waste taxpayers’ money on a totally unnecessary campaign based on a ticket that was paid for.’

Mr O’Byrne admitted he would have just paid the £25 fine if he had known it would cause him such grief.

A spokeswoman for Chichester District Council said: ‘We understand that it’s not nice receiving a penalty notice but we do need to manage parking activity in the district effectively and we treat each case both fairly and transparently.

‘Our parking enforcement team follows the legislation within the Traffic Management Act.

‘This particular case has been through three stages, one of which was an independent traffic penalty tribunal.

‘All agreed that the council had followed the correct procedures and had made the appropriate decision.’

The spokeswoman said she was not able to go into the details of the tribunal.