Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 17:09 UK

'Periscope' parking fines quashed

Rachel Johnson argued that there were no warning signs to tell drivers they were being filmed

Motorists issued with parking fines after being caught out by so-called "spy cars" may now have grounds to appeal after a legal ruling.

Rachel Johnson, 32, challenged three £60 fines issued by Wirral Council using evidence gathered by Smart Cars fitted with periscope cameras.

A tribunal upheld her claim she was loading and unloading her car when the the Penalty Charge Notices were issued.

About 30 councils across England and Wales are believed to use the cameras.

'Privacy invaded'

Ms Johnson appealed to the local authority after receiving three tickets in the space of a week.

On each occasion, she had parked briefly on double yellow lines outside the off-licence she runs in New Brighton.

"I felt like my privacy had been invaded," she told the BBC.

"We were just going about our business, trying to run a business, and I knew we were allowed to park here."

The fines were overturned by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, which rules on appeals against parking penalties issued by councils in England and Wales.

For just general enforcement local authorities shouldn't be using CCTV
Neil Herron, parking fine campaigner

It ruled the charges were invalid because there was a lack of evidence that adequate signs were in place about the cameras.

A Wirral Borough Council spokesperson said they were reviewing the recommendations issued by the tribunal.

"Anyone who has received a parking ticket and feels that they have a valid reason to appeal is able to do so through the appeals process detailed.

"Each case is reviewed on its own merits."

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils which used the periscope cameras for parking fines would also be studying the implications of the tribunal ruling.

Parking fine campaigner Neil Herron said the use of the periscope cameras was no substitute for experienced parking attendants.

"CCTV enforcement should only be where parking attendants can't go - where it's too dangerous or too restrictive.

"For just general enforcement local authorities shouldn't be using CCTV.

"A CCTV camera doesn't record whether loading or unloading is taking place, whether a blue badge has been displayed, whether there was any exemptions in the traffic order."

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