Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Smart Parking 'Parking Person of the Year' nominee jailed

The courier has reported on the sentencing hearing of David Edmeades. Mr Edmeades was once nominated for Parking Person of the Year by his company, Smart Parking. However, behind the scenes he was cancelling parking charges but pocketing the refunds. To reduce the risk of discovery he only cancelled charges for motorists who paid straight away and did not appeal.

Over 3 years he managed to salt away £45,000. He was caught because he started refunding himself more than the actual charges. A colleague noticed a refund of £140 which was higher than the maximum parking charge of £90. Not so Smart then. Mr Edmeades was jailed for 18 months.

Smart Parking previously issued a press statement stating that the £45,000 embezzled was insignificant.

As their accounts show they are haemorrhaging cash at A$ 1.8 million a quarter, the Prankster would tend to agree that £45,000 is a drop in the ocean.

Around 80% of Smart Parking's UK income is believed to come from their ASDA contract and so losing this contract would be a serious blow to Smart Parking.

The Prankster has noticed that in the past, no ASDA parking charges have been progressed to court, but this may be changing. Gladstones have been issuing threatening letters on behalf of Smart Parking relating to supermarket charges, as reported by pepipoo.

The Prankster believes this is related to an ASDA parking charge, but has not yet confirmed this.

Of course, it might be the case that Smart Parking have decided to do a 'Civil Enforcement Limited' and sue motorists despite the wishes of the landowner. The Co-op know all about that! The Prankster will keep an eye on the situation.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. PPCs as a market sector are out of control. Some exist largely on the fines/penalties they levy for trivial breaches of a one-sided contract the victim enters into in order to spend money with the PPC’s client, or visit a hospital, on whose behalf the PPC “manages” the car park.

    These PPCs exist to eliminate abuse of “reasonable” parking regulations, but often are keener to enforce the penalties via the PCNs. In some cases it seems the situation is designed to ensure non-compliance.

    PPCs get vehicle data from DVLA on the basis of membership of BPA's Appropriate Operator Scheme which requires them to sign up to a Code of Practice which experience shows they do not always adhere to. I propose a C of P to be the product of a process of public consultation involving the parking & retail industries, landowners, motoring organisations, general public & current Licensing Authorities; a formula would be set by which all reasonable losses incurred by a car-park/retail store or owner/operator/licensee, and all profit made would be given to local charities for the public good. The inflated fines would end. Local Licensing Officer would have to put the operators’ proposals to Councillors in Committee where all interested parties can speak for or against the proposals. The alternative would be “pay on exit”.

    In three years BPA had three successive Codes of Practice, increasingly favouring AOS members. The only stakeholders appear to be the Private Parking Companies.

    Profits from PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) under Statute (i.e. Council or Police-issued), MUST be put back into “road safety improvement” measures yet with a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) from a PPC the proceeds go to directors’ and shareholders’ bonuses/dividends – PROFIT! Profit from misery and subterfuge.

    Statute-based fines offer statute-based appeals procedures by local, publicly accountable, bodies. Not so the private sector – their “(non-)fines” are investigated by either the PPC in the first place or their association’s appointed independent body who can only adjudicate on points of law with no mitigation allowed. One PPPC had 80% of tickets cancelled by POPLA, the independent adjudicating body – quite apart from more issued to motorists who appeared to have fallen into a trap! Were they a little overzealous?

    Who’s in charge of regulating?

    BPA, by their own admission cannot control their members’ actions despite their roll as the host of the AOS Code of Conduct. DVLA rely upon BPA to regulate their own members; as said, BPA can't do this. Somebody must.

    So what’s the answer?

    Proposal is that PPCs operating a car park, where “tickets” or PCNs are issued for infringements, for a client should apply for an Approved Operators Licence issued through DVLA which would enable them to apply for a Site Operators Licence from the relevant Local Licensing Authority anywhere in UK. No Site Operators Licence = no L A Licence.

    Part of the qualification for this must be a suitable Fit and Proper Person/Body test, enabling either a person or firm to manage an individual car park on behalf of a specific client. Licensing Authorities would charge an appropriate fee and the revenue sourced would be ring-fenced in the same way as that for Taxi/Private Hire licensing to cover enforcement and inspection. Smaller authorities could amalgamate the function with similar areas or affiliate to a larger Authority. Enforcement would then be locally-based and democratically accountable.


    DVLA increase their fee for access to data from t£2.50 to £5.00 for Licensed Operators, leaving it at £2.50 for members of the public showing just cause.

    The Licensing Authority would resolve any disputes and their verdict would be binding upon the Licensed Operator, like POPLA’s is currently. They would be able to suspend or cancel the operator’s licence.

    This works for the Taxi Trade. All taxi operators have the right to appeal a Licensing Authority’s decision on matters relating, by complaint to a Magistrate. No additional cost to taxpayers.

  2. Was that a pig I just saw flying over?
    The truth of the matter is that PPC's in the main rely on the system the way it is. No profit from an operation and no incentive to do any "management" work.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Is Graham White going to sue for copyright over that letter from Gladstones?

  5. Let's hope it doesn't SMART at shower time.