Dog walker slams parking firm after he is slapped with £400 in fines

Dog walker slams parking firm after he is slapped with £400 in fines

Dog walker, 81, slams ‘greedy’ parking firm after he is slapped with £400 in fines for four separate offences in nine days when he left his car at sports field but failed to spot new permit-only sign

  • John Searle, 81, parked in car park in Eddington, Cambridge, while walking dog
  • Was hit with four fines in nine days totaling £400 if he doesn’t pay in two weeks
  • Mr Searle said letters took weeks to get to him and he’s been parking there since 

An 81-year-old dog walker has been hit with £400 worth of fines over just nine days after he unwittingly parked his car in a spot reserved for permit holders only.

Charity worker John Searle had been leaving his vehicle at the car park in Eddington, Cambridge, for more than six months before ever receiving a fine. 

But after parking there at the start of December he was hit with four fines, totalling £400 if he didn’t pay them straight away. If he pays within 14 days the payment is £60 each.

However, it wasn’t until the week before Christmas that Mr Searle received the four parking fine letters, telling him he wasn’t allowed to park at the car park anymore.

John Searle, 81, (pictured) was fined for four incidents between 27th November to 6th December but only received the parking fine letters during the week before Christmas

Mr Searle said he felt caught out by the fines, as the letters sent to him took weeks to arrive after the date he was first fined, and he had been parking there since.

Mr Searle, who lives in Girton, has type-2 diabetes and walks his beloved dog, Labradoodle Wally, twice a day to stay fit.

He said: ‘When the Eddington development took shape, I was delighted. Here was another delightful area for a dog walk, along with a splendid car park adjacent to a fine sports field known as Five Acre Field.

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‘Unfortunately I’m unable to walk as far as I’d like, but I have been careful not to park there during those busy times when children are picked up from the University Primary School.’

He added: ‘I was blissfully unaware, however, that Parking Charge Limited had recently erected a sign which restricted parking to permit holders.

‘I have no idea when this sign was erected and would have accepted a parking ticket with reluctant good grace. 

Mr Searle walks his dog Wally twice a day and said he was ‘blissfully unaware’ a sign which restricted parking to permit holders had been put up at the car park 

‘However, Parking Charge Limited has now issued not one but four parking charge notices which cover the period from 27th November-6th December. These arrived without any warning.

‘I realise that I have been inadvertently caught out and that in a legal sense, it’s my own fault, but the idea of some commission hungry person sneaking around secretly with his camera and dealing pitiless body blows to the festive spirit fills me with a kind of sadness.

‘Why not a simple word of warning, or even a physical parking ticket which would have made a slightly dozy old man aware of his involuntary offence?’

Mr Searle is the founder of a Cambridge-based charity that helps orphaned children in Malawi. The charity looks after around 3,000 children, as well as helping local communities with food and water during drought periods.

He continued: ‘Obviously the money isn’t going to be taken away from the charity, but there is so much better that could be done with £400 than going to a greedy parking company.’

MailOnline has tried to contact Parking Charges Limited for comment. 

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