Thursday, March 8, 2007
by Robert Brooks
London's traffic blunders claim third North victim
Red-faced London traffic wardens have apologised to a North pensioner after ticketing her car - when it was 300 miles away.
Monica Archer was puzzled to receive an £80 fixed penalty notice in January for leaving her blue Vauxhall Corsa on Broadway on Boxing Day.
Broadway, in Darras Hall, Ponteland, Northumberland, is not far from her home in Edgehill.
But the Broadway on the ticket was in London's Borough of Newham.
The Journal took up Mrs Archer's case, and pointed out the gaffe to parking controllers in the capital.
And now the authority has written to her to apologise - and scrapped the dodgy fine.
Mrs Archer, 76, a former television producer, said: "They say a CCTV operator made a mistake when reading my numberplate, I can't see how that could happen, though.
"It just makes me wonder how many other people have fallen foul of the same mistake, but paid up."
A Newham council spokeswoman said last night: "Unfortunately mistakes do happen, whether it's down to human error or a CCTV camera image not being clear enough.
"Any person who feels they were wrongly ticketed should contact us, and we will investigate."
There are two similar cases involving London wardens and innocent North-East drivers.
An error in reading car number plates almost led to debt collectors raiding Northumberland mum-of-three Jenny Allen, of Branxton village, near Cornhill, who was accused by the new Transport for London Street Management system of driving in a bus lane.
At the time, she had been shopping 350 miles away in Berwick - doing her shopping.
Bailiffs were going to raid her home, until The Journal intervened.
Ann Walker, of Cornhill-on-Tweed, Nothumberland, was wrongly targeted four times by London traffic wardens.
What made her situation farcical is that the tickets listed a red Ford Ka.
Ann drives a six-tonne eight-wheeled ex-Dutch Army truck which she uses for pulling horse boxes at her stable yard.