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Grieving pensioner fined outside Poundland on Gillingham Business Park as daughter lay dying in hospital

A grieving pensioner has labelled parking enforcement chiefs as “heartless” after they refused to rescind a fine – despite being told his daughter had just died.

Church-goer Derek Webb was slapped with a £100 penalty notice after accidentally parking on double yellow lines for 10 minutes while visiting Gillingham Business Park.

Derek Webb and daughter Becky who tragically lost her battle to cancer
Derek Webb and daughter Becky who tragically lost her battle to cancer

The 89-year-old received notification at his Rainham home on October 11 – the day before daughter Becky lost her battle with breast and liver cancer, aged 47.

Derek said: “At the time I was in a bad way. My head was all over the place. I thought about just paying it, but it was the principle.

“So I appealed, telling them everything. They just didn’t listen. I was shown no compassion.”

Instead, parking firm Excel upped the penalty to £170, and told the heartbroken great-granddad he faced court proceedings if payment was not forthcoming.

Luckily, he managed to eventually bypass them and speak direct to business park management who quashed the fine for him.

But the retired mechanical engineer is still bitter about how he was chased.

He told KentOnline how on the day of the fine he’d gone to Aldi to do a weekly shop and then stopped off at Poundland.

He said: “I needed some reading glasses, so I thought I’d just nip in and get them.

“I didn’t see the double yellow lines; it’s not something you’d expect on a business park. I would never have dreamt of parking there if I’d known.”

Excel wrote to Derek on November 3 and sent a final notice on January 19 threatening county court proceedings and bailiffs recovering goods at his home.

Poundland, Gillingham Business Park
Poundland, Gillingham Business Park
Becky with partner Scott Crittenden
Becky with partner Scott Crittenden

Its appeals administration team said: “Whilst we sympathise with your situation at that time and send our sincere condolences, the signs clearly stated vehicles must not park or wait at that location.

“In this case, if you had a genuine problem, you should have called the Helpline so arrangements could be made and advice given in respect of any problem you had.

“We have fully reviewed this case and we are satisfied the charge notice was correctly issued. We are unable to accept the mitigating circumstances raised in your representation, your appeal is therefore rejected and the charge will stand.”

Derek, wife Sandy, and Becky’s long-term partner Scott Crittenden are still mourning the loss of their loved one.

Becky, who worked in accounts at the Sunlight Centre in Gillingham, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

The disease spread to her liver and she was given the shocking news she had stage 4 of the terminal illness.

Derek added: “Right until the end you would never have known she was ill. She was energetic and led a healthy life.

“She did not smoke or drink – it seems so unfair.”

Derek said having the parking offence hanging over him weighed heavily on his mind.

He said: “This has been going on for three months on top of everything else; it has been awful.”

Becky with the family's pet dog Teddy
Becky with the family's pet dog Teddy

A religious man, he seeks some comfort by going to a Sunday service at Rochester Cathedral with Scott, 41, who lives nearby.

He also likes to walk his pet lurcher twice a day near his home in Herbert Road.

He added: “It’s still very difficult. We are still taking one day at a time.”

A representative from Excel Parking Services Ltd said: “The double yellow lines are clearly visible along the roadways at the Business Park and there are also repeater signs that emphasise 'No Parking', as evidence in the images below.

Pictures of Mr Webb's car parked on double yellows. Picture: Excel Parking Services Ltd
Pictures of Mr Webb's car parked on double yellows. Picture: Excel Parking Services Ltd

“Whilst we are sympathetic to Mr Webb's circumstances, he did not provide any evidence in support of his appeal. We have agreed with our client to cancel the PCN.“

Business park manager Andrew Wenzerul authorised the withdrawal of the penalty notice.

He said the double yellows had recently been introduced onsite to ease congestion and understood some drivers were not yet aware of them.

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