Page last updated at 08:09 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 09:09 UK

Fined 472 for hospital parking

Christopher Dunn
Christopher Dunn has difficulty walking after a lumbar puncture went wrong

A hospital visitor with walking difficulties who put his disabled badge the wrong way around in his car as he parked has been fined £472.

Christopher Dunn, of Anglesey, was initially fined £30 after parking in a disabled bay as he took his wife for cancer tests at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor.

He disputed the charge and thought it had been dropped. But he has now been given a bill for over 15 times as much.

Gwynedd council, which runs the car park, said people can appeal on fines.

Ysbyty Gwynedd said the car park is free for those using the hospital, and its traffic wardens patrol the area once a day.

Mr Dunn, 38, said he took his wife Michelle to the hospital in Bangor in March at about 0730 BST for exploratory surgery to see whether lumps and cysts she had were cancerous.

"To be honest I was more concerned about my wife than making sure my badge was up correctly," said Mr Dunn, who lives with his wife and two children in Bodedern.

To be honest I was more concerned about my wife than making sure my badge was up correctly
Christopher Dunn

"When I later saw I had a ticket I was so annoyed. Basically I had put the badge back-to-front by accident, so my picture was showing rather than the expiry date.

"But they could have easily checked on the tax disc that the car was for a disabled person or even come to look for us in the hospital.

"I just thought the fine was so petty."

He said he queried the fine and was under the impression it had been withdrawn.

But six months later, he was visited by a woman who said she had been sent by a bailiff firm called Proserve in Colwyn Bay to collect the fine - which now amounted to £472.

A spokesman for the company said it worked for Gwynedd council and had taken so long to track Mr Dunn down because he had moved house.

Seize goods

Mr Dunn said: "The woman explained that either we pay or she would call some other people who would seize goods worth £1,000 from me.

"I didn't have that kind of money because I cannot work and so I had to ring my dad and ask him to pay it. He was livid."

Mr Dunn was in the RAF for more than seven years and served in the Falklands.

But an accident while he had a lumbar puncture procedure while in hospital with suspected meningitis has left him with walking difficulties and sciatica problems.

Staff at the constituency office of Anglesey Assembly Member Ieuan Wyn Jones - who is also Plaid Cymru leader and deputy first minister - said they were looking into the case.

Gwynedd council said it called in bailiffs only as an "absolute last resort" in cases where ithad failed to contact vehicle owners who had been fined.

"Anyone who believes that they have been unfairly issued with a parking ticket can write to the Welsh Penalty Processing Partnership to make a formal challenge," a spokesman said.

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