An 84-year-old man with a heart condition has fought a stressful eight-month battle against a £160 parking fine which he says was unfairly issued to him.
Roger Wheatley said he put a £1 coin in a machine in the Bell Centre car park in Melton but when it did not dispense a ticket he left a note on his car’s dashboard to explain the situation.
He made a 10-minute trip to buy something from Poundland in Sherrard Street before returning to his Ford Fiesta and driving home to Langham.
A few days later, Mr Wheatley received a letter from car park operators, Smart Parking, to say he had been fined £100 for leaving his car there without a ticket.
He wrote back to explain what had happened but the company has continued to chase him for payment, threatening him with court action and hiking the fine now to £160 because of his reluctance to pay it.
Mr Wheatley told the Melton Times: “I’m really annoyed about this because I don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong.
“I hadn’t got 80p in change for the car park so I put a pound coin in, the machine swallowed it and I didn’t get a ticket.
“I’ve never had a bad debt in my life and I shouldn’t have to pay this because I put money in the machine.”
The twice-married former sales rep, who has received four or five debt collection letters since the car park incident happened in October, said his partner Maureen supported his stance.
He added: “I have a heart condition and it has been stressful but I would rather go to prison than pay this fine.”
A Smart Parking spokesperson told the Melton Times: “Following an in depth technical review, we were able to define that, in the case of Mr Wheatley, no payment was received and therefore we believe that the Parking Charge Notice was correctly issued.
“Mr Wheatley did contact us, but we rejected his appeal as, on the day in question, all of our payment machines were operating normally and many hundreds of motorists parked without any issue.
“We have highlighted to Mr Wheatley that he can still appeal to the independent appeals service POPLA, and we will abide by any decision it takes.”