Friday, 16 May 2014

ParkingEye lose at POPLA. ANPR technology ruled as flawed

In an important ruling today, POPLA decided that a motorist had visited a car park twice, but that ParkingEye's flawed ANPR technology had not detected all the entries and exits and thus thought the motorist had made one long stay.

xxxxxxxx (Appellant)
-v-ParkingEye Ltd (Operator) 
The Operator issued parking charge notice number xxxxxx arising out of the presence at xxxx, on xxxxxx, of a vehicle with registration mark xxxxxxx. 
The Appellant appealed against liability for the parking charge. 
The Assessor has considered the evidence of both parties and has determined that the appeal be allowed. 
The Assessor’s reasons are as set out. 
The Operator should now cancel the parking charge notice forthwith. 
Reasons for the Assessor’s Determination 
The Operator’s Case
The Operator issued a parking charge notice (‘PCN’) for parking without paying to. The Operator submits that a parking charge is due in accordance with the advertised terms which required motorists to pay to park. The Operator submits that it’s automatic number plate recognition system (‘ANPR’) observed the Appellant’s vehicle enter the site at XX:XX and exit at XX:XX a stay of x hours and xx minutes. The Operator submits that it undertook a check to locate the vehicle on the paid parking system and that no payment was found. 
The Appellant’s Case
The Appellant disputed parking improperly. It is the Appellant’s case that the breach never occurred because he entered and exited the site twice on the day in question. The Appellant submits that he entered, as recorded by the ANPR system, at XX:XX and exited around 10 minutes later. He then returned at approximately XX:XX, leaving 10 minutes later as recorded.
The Appellant submitted a document detailing various issues with ANPR technology which might have resulted in the parking charge being issued. 
The Decision
I appreciate that ANPR technology is not infallible, and susceptible to the errors highlighted by the Appellant. These include misreading registration mark characters and being obscured by the presence of other objects, such as vehicles. However, the Appellant’s case – that his first exit and subsequent re-entry were both missed whilst his entrance and exit at XX:XX and XX:XX were both recorded – is unlikely. This is because ANPR equipment correctly recognised and recorded the Appellant’s vehicle entering and exiting the site at XX:XX and XX:XX which would have had to have failed – for whatever reason – to record the vehicle’s additional movements.
However, the Appellant also submitted that where a registration mark is misread, or not read at all and no photo is recorded by the ANPR camera, then the system is “configured to record the duration of stay as the first and last exit”, and to ignore any isolated entry or exit in between. On that basis, the ANPR need only have missed either the vehicle’s initial exit or re-entry. Because the site was very congested at the times in question, the Appellant submits that the ANPR error is most likely to have been caused by another vehicle obscuring his registration mark. 
In any event, the Appellant suggested various pieces of evidence that the Operator ought to reasonably provide to prove its case. This included evidence to show that it had conduct searches of its ANPR database to rule out multiple entries/exits on the day in question. 
The Operator did not produce any evidence to address these issues. 
On balance, I find that the Operator has not discharged its burden to prove the offence by refuting the Appellant’s submissions. 
The appeal is allowed on this ground. 
It does not fall for me to decide any remaining issues.
 Matthew Shaw
The Prankster applauds the courage of the motorist in submitting this single-point POPLA appeal. The Prankster warned the motorist that this was a risky approach and that he could have guaranteed himself victory using the tried and trusted GPEOL route. However, the motorist decided that for the benefit of others he would put himself on the line.

The document referred to in the decision was written by The Prankster, and can be downloaded from The Prankster's website for use in POPLA or court cases where you believe you made two visits to the car park in question.

The Prankster will let Hill Dickinson have the last word.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. I wonder what the Prankster does with his time these days now that Hill Dickinson are writing his blog posts for him.

  2. I like the final word. It's like Jerry's final thought!

  3. Dear ParkingEye,

    “When you can [correctly] measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in [correct] numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.”

    ― William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin