Thursday, 14 April 2016

Bogus ParkingEye claim for Riverside Retail Park thrown out of court

ParkingEye's deficient ANPR technology was found wanting yet again in court.

In this latest case an unfortunate motorist found they had a CCJ registered against them when they attempted to make a purchase of a new car. On investigating, this turned out to be from a claim which ParkingEye had taken out against them. The lady had never received any court papers so applied for a set-aside, asking the British Motorist Protection Association for advice.

The parking event, which happened back in 2013, was in the same car park where Barry Beavis was charged in the ParkingEye v Beavis case. However, in this particular case the motorist visited the car park twice. In the first visit, she found she had forgotten her purse. She then returned home to get it, and visited one shop where she spent £61. She retained the receipt, which she was able to show the judge.

ParkingEye's ANPR system, which has been proved not fit for purpose in many court claims previous to this, was one again found wanting, recording just one long stay instead of the two visits. With the help of the BMPA the motorist filed a witness statement containing the following information.
The alleged contravention never occurred. I visited the shops twice on that day. On the first visit I forgot my purse and had to return. I then only visited one shop where I still have my receipt for £61, which I will bring as evidence. ParkingEye's ANPR cameras incorrectly recorded my two short visits as one long stay.
ANPR cameras are not 100% accurate and a large number of cases similar to this are documented on the internet. I have contacted the British Motorists Protection Association who inform me that one way ANPR cameras fail is when vehicles drive close to each other and block off the numberplate from the camera. Other errors are introduced if there is glare from sun or snow, if the camera angle is wrong, if the camera is misaligned with the road or if the road is too wide for the camera capabilities. Depending on the site, the camera accuracy will vary from as low as 70% to the high 90's. Normally this works to the benefit of the motorist, as the stay will not be recorded. However, in the case of double visits, this works against the motorist.
This means that on the day of the incident I was one of the unfortunate victims of poor technology, with the cameras missing my first exit and second entrance.
ParkingEye measure the accuracy of every site by recording the number of cars entering, but apparently never exiting, and also exiting, but apparently never entering.  To protect against issuing charges for double visits they cancel all charges when accuracy falls below 70%. This is far too low a percentage, and accounts for the large number of complaints against ParkingEye by motorists who have made double visits.
In the set-aside hearing, ParkingEye decided not to appear to contest the claim, but to send in papers only. After considering the papers and speaking to the motorist, the judge not only decided to grant the set-aside, but also decided that ParkingEye had no prospect of success in any future hearing. He therefore used his case management powers to dismiss the claim.

Prankster Note

It is fairly unusual to dismiss a claim during the set aside process. However judges do have wide reaching case management powers, and if the judge found that there was two visits then no contravention occurred and the sensible thing to do was to dismiss the claim. This saves time and money for both parties, as well as the court.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. If there is no case to answer for the alleged contravention, doors this have any bearing on the costs incurred to set aside?

  2. If there is no case to answer for the alleged contravention, doors this have any bearing on the costs incurred to set aside?

  3. Why was the validity of the CCJ not questioned? or was it?

  4. In a planning permission (Ref. CHL/875/88, Chelmsford Borough Council), for re-development of this site in 1988 Condition 22 states: "Such controls shall be implemented, as may be agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority, to ensure that the car parking spaces shall be used for the purposes of persons visiting the development approved only....". But if no such controls were subsequently "agreed in writing" then surely, by definition, no controls are implemented?

  5. Also, local planning authorities, nationwide, confirm that planning consent is required for ANPR signage
    (sometimes cameras too) else s.224 of Town & Country Planning Act 1990 is breached which, in turn, is inconsistent with Clauses 2.4 & 4.2 of the CoP (and
    probably Clauses 3 & 11 of the landowner contract too), and the Supreme Court (at 111) confirms keeper details only available if CoP observed. Meanwhile, Chelmsford BC confirm that this site had (and has) no planning consent, do they not? So surely nobody can be prosecuted here, at least by ANPR (POFA, para 9)?