Published: 06:00, 07 May 2021
| Updated: 16:27, 07 May 2021
A man is facing a £700 bill after refusing to pay the fine his daughter received two minutes before she paid for her parking.
Grace Russell from East Farleigh was issued with the ticket on July 21 after she parked at the Wheeler Street Car Park in Maidstone.
In an email exchange seen by KentOnline, the Mid Kent Enforcement Service, who work on the instruction of Maidstone Borough Council, say the 20-year-old only paid to park in that car park from 3.16pm to 4.46pm that day, with the ticket being issued at 3.14pm.
But the Russell family claim Grace, who is unable to work due to health problems, had to walk out of the car park to get a phone signal to call RingGo and get a ticket for her grey Mini Cooper Countryman.
Grace's father, Stewart Russell, is disputing the ticket and is refusing to pay the fine on a matter of principle and eight months later the fine is now £700.
He said: “We have proof that it’s been paid. You're not getting fined for not paying for your parking, you're getting parking fines based on rules and regulations. It is just ridiculous.
“Their stance seems to be: ‘we don’t care, it is too late’.
“We actually have told them before that we have proof but, because the ticket is overdue by more than one minute, they don’t care, and they are not going to do anything about it.”
"You're not getting fined for not paying for your parking, you're getting parking fines based on rules and regulations..."
It was the third time in 2020 that Grace was issued a fine. She received tickets while parked at Brooks Place on January 21 and Wheeler Street on March 3 and Mr Russell paid for both.
He said: “With one of them, she got the number plate wrong.
“She went across the road because she couldn’t get a signal and she looked up and put the wrong numbers in. But she was still parking at that time.
“I tried to explain but they just said they were not interested. So I ended up paying £140 for that one.
“Then, with this one, she got out of the car, walked up the road to get a signal and bought the ticket.
"The time difference between her buying the ticket and then being given a parking ticket is two minutes.
“On RingGo, I think it takes more than two minutes to put all your numbers in. It has come to the stage where they have sent bailiffs round and they want to take the car away.”
Mr Russell admits the saga has been tough for the family.
Grace has autism, suffers seizures and has anxious episodes where she curls up in a ball.
He said: "It has been an absolute nightmare. She can't get on public transport because she gets too anxious.
“So she can’t go into town on her own or do anything. To threaten to take the poor girl’s car away is ridiculous.”
"She can't get on public transport because she gets too anxious..."
He added: "I'm still not going to pay it, I refuse to pay it. I've had enough, they're just ripping people off. It is a matter of principle now.
"It is not a case of not being able to afford to pay it - because I can afford to pay it - but I'm just not going to pay."
A Maidstone Council spokesman said: “Due to data protection legislation, we are unable to comment on specific cases.
“Where someone wishes to challenge and appeal a parking enforcement notice, clear information is sent to them on how to do this and the correct legal process is always followed.”
The Mid Kent Enforcement Service say they are unable to comment on the situation without Miss Russell's consent due to the Data Protection Act.