Motorist fined £650 after council worker ‘paints disabled bay around his car’

A disabled parking bay (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)
A disabled parking bay (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)

A furious motorist is embroiled in a parking row after being fined repeatedly by a south London council amid claims they painted a new disabled bay around his parked car.

Paul Cooper, from Merton, said he has now been fined £625 in a six-month-long battle with Merton council after parking wardens repeatedly penalised him while he was out of London visiting friends.

The 42-year-old claims council workers damaged the back of his vehicle as “someone leant under the car and painted on the new lines”.

Leaving his BMW opposite his home on September 18 he said he discovered the disabled bay had been extended underneath the car on his return on October 6.

He told the BBC that the council’s claim was “utter nonsense” after Merton issued five separate PCNs in the time he had been away.

“The council say that the paint from the old lines could not be removed without inflicting damage to my vehicle, and the back of my vehicle is completely ruined,” he said.

He added: “The resident who uses the disabled parking bay stated unambiguously that my car was parked before the bay was extended, as she and her son discussed at the time how unfair it was to the owner of the vehicle - which was me.”

In a viral Facebook post, he insists: “I know with absolute certainty that I parked my car on the 18th of September and next returned to it on 6th October.

“I know that I had returned from visiting friends in West Byfleet and have a credit card statement showing transactions from that trip. Considering I was told months ago that no work was even done in this period and that was later separately confirmed to my councillor, I am ‘satisfied’ that my record-keeping is better than Merton Parking Services’ and that they are insinuating that I am a liar.”

Merton Council said they had refunded all but one of the PCNs at their “discretion”.

A spokesman told the BBC: “We have fully investigated Mr Cooper’s claim that a disabled parking bay was extended underneath his car while it was parked in a non-disabled bay, and later allegations his car was damaged in the process of new lines being painted.

“Mr Cooper left his car parked in the same spot, in a parallel road to his home, for a number of weeks without visiting it or updating himself on the work to be carried out. Merton Council cannot be held responsible for him not reading signs notifying residents of the work, and efforts were made to get in contact with him during the weeks his car was parked.

“Despite Mr Cooper’s admitted knowledge and understanding of the PCN appeals process, he made the decision to pay the fines issued, which is a legal admission the contraventions occurred.

“However, at our discretion, we have decided to refund all but the initial PCN.”