Page last updated at 05:42 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 06:42 UK

Drivers urged to claim back fines

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland news website, Edinburgh and East reporter

Consulate General of Ukraine in Windsor Street
The Ukraine Consulate parking space can fit two cars

Edinburgh Council has been criticised for failing to offer money back to motorists collected unlawfully through parking fines outside a city consulate.

Thousands of pounds have been taken between 19 August 2006 and 23 February 2008 from motorists parking in a diplomatic space which had expired.

The space in Windsor Street outside the Consulate General of Ukraine had been covered by a temporary traffic order.

A motorist towed illegally from the spot is urging drivers to claim.

During the 18 month period, 12 cars were impounded with a 135 recovery cost and a further 68 vehicles were issued with a 60 parking ticket, which was reduced to 30 if it was paid within 14 days. There were a further 27 cancelled tickets.

A two-year traffic order was obtained on 19 August 2004 for the parking spot but wardens continued issuing tickets despite it not being renewed.

I would urge any motorist who has been wrongly fined for parking in this spot to request their money back from the council
Angry motorist

A 43-year-old motorist, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was "angry and upset" when he found his car had "vanished".

He said: "The whole street is full of residents parking bays and being a permit holder I therefore parked in the street.

"I thought my car had been stolen when I returned. I am always so careful over where I park that I wanted to make sure I was definitely in the wrong so I requested a copy of the road traffic order and that's when I discovered I had been unlawfully towed away.

"Following a freedom of information request, I was angry and annoyed to discover that there were dozens of other motorists who had been fined or towed since the space had expired.

"I would urge any motorist who has been wrongly fined for parking in this spot to request their money back from the council."

Permanent slot

An Edinburgh City Council spokesman said although motorists could not appeal after they had paid a fine, drivers who had parked in the expired diplomatic space could contact them.

He said: "The space for the consulate was clearly marked and signed, so any motorists who parked in it will have been aware that they shouldn't have been there.

"Those who have paid any penalties and not appealed any notice are assumed to have accepted that it was served correctly.

"However, drivers have the right to appeal if they feel that they did not deserve a ticket, and there is a fair and consistent system in place which deals with these occasions."

The space has since been granted a permanent diplomatic slot by the Scottish Government, which means motorists can be fined for parking in the spot.

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