A Wigan pensioner has reacted with anger after a charity-boosting trip into Wigan ended with him getting a parking ticket.
John Cordingley received the £70 fine for parking up in a loading bay outside the British Heart Foundation shop on Mesnes Terrace just before Christmas.
He had been at the charity shop to collect a fridge on the morning of December 22 and was inside for a matter of minutes when a passer-by popped in and asked if anyone owned the motorhome parked outside.
Recognising it as his own, John returned to his vehicle to find a parking ticket slapped on his windshield.
“I was flabbergasted,” he said.
“It was just some last-minute Christmas shopping.
The council are trying to get people to come into Wigan and support local business, and then you get thisJohn Cordingley
“I wasn’t outside the lines. I thought it was legally parked. It’s a loading area and I was there only for loading.
“I was expecting someone with a camera to pop out and say ‘gotcha’.”
The council says that Mr Cordingley received a code 2 ticket which is handed out to those who park or load in a restricted street where waiting and loading/loading restrictions are in force, but his ticket has code 25 on it which is issued for parking in a loading place during restricted hours without loading.
Either way Mr Cordingley, 72, says he does not feel he has broken any rules. The sign on the lamppost next to where he parked says that the space can only be used for loading between the hours of 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday.
He says this is what he was doing that day at 9.30am. He didn’t use the space just as a pretext then to go off shopping around Wigan, only to visit the charity shop next to it from where he was collecting a very heavy item. There is a customer collection point indicated yards from the bay.
BHF staff themselves say that many of their customers use the bay for delivering or picking up bulky items such as furniture during business hours because they have little alternative within reasonable distance.
Mr Cordingley described the fine as “beyond a joke” and said that this kind of action wasn’t doing the council or Wigan’s image any good.
The 72-year-old said: “The council are trying to get people to come into Wigan and support local business, and then you get this.
“I was supporting a local charity, now I’ve got a £70 fine. It’s disgusting. It absolutely stinks to high heaven.”
The former construction worker added: “If I had parked on double yellow lines, I would have held my hands up and said ‘okay, I’m in the wrong.’ But I’ve done nothing wrong.
Mr Cordingley plans to appeal.
When the issues raised by Mr Cordingley were sent to the council, it responded by referring us to its website and the rules covering code 2 parking restrictions.
The council website states: “We issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) for parking offences.
“The charge for a parking offence will be proportional to the seriousness of the offence (contravention).”
Figures obtained in 2014 by a Freedom of Information request from the Wigan Evening Post revealed that motorists in the borough coughed up at least £500,000 a year in tickets and fines.
Anyone who receives a penalty charge must pay within 28 days of the notice period, or can appeal the charge by writing to Parking Services.
Parking fines were also at the centre of another controversy recently.
In November, online fraudsters sent out extremely convincing emails - which appeared to contain legitimate parking tickets - containing links to malware.
A full list of parking charges can be found at wigan.gov.uk