A 77-year-old Woodhall Spa woman says she has been left feeling like ‘a captured terrorist’ after a row over a car park fine.
Jacky Merrison, who is battling cancer, was issued with a penalty ticket after allegedly parking in an NCP car park in Lincoln.
According to the company, they have ‘very clear camera evidence’ of Mrs Merrison’s car being parked in St Rumbold Street for 22 minutes and 29 seconds - without any payment being made.
But Mrs Merrison claims that on the day in question (June 28) she was 25 miles away, attending a fundraising event for Marie Curie at the Manor House in West Ashby.
Mrs Merrison says she has 30 witnesses who could vouch for her.
She has appealed the original £60 penalty - without success.
Now, she says she will pay the increased £100 fine, because of her health.
Mrs Merrison told the News: “I have been battling cancer for more than 20 years.
“I have just been re-diagnosed with lymphoma cancer.
“I have been told it could take two years for any legal action (over the parking fine) to get to court.
“I have more than enough on my plate without months and months of more worry - no matter how strongly I feel that I’ve been a victim of daylight robbery.
“I feel like I have been captured by terrorists and must pay at least £100 to be released.”
Mrs Merrison, a volunteer helper at Boston Pilgrim Hospital, admits she did use the car park in question - but is adamant it was on another date.
She explained: “On entry, you are issued with a disc which is to use in the payment machine when you wish to leave.
“When leaving, this disc is then placed in the payment machine which will inform you how much you owe.
“You pay that amount and you are issued with another disc to use at the exit.
“After paying for three hours (£6.00) I was issued with the exit disc - that is exactly what I did to leave the car park.
“I could not have driven from this car park without inserting the disc.”
“The exit disc goes into the machine so there goes your proof of payment.”
Mrs Merrison says that when she left the car park, repairs were being carried out to an adjoining exit barrier.
She thinks this could have affected the exit that she used.
Mrs Merrison admits she was ‘upset and aggrieved’ to receive the penalty notice.
She adds: “I checked in my diary and on the date of the alleged offence (28.6.19) I was at a garden party for most of that day at the Manor House in West Ashby with about 30 other people raising funds for the Marie Curie Cancer fund. They can vouch for me.
“I think on the day I used this NCP car park, their technical equipment must have been corrupted by their workman trying to fix the adjacent exit barrier that was stuck half way up on the day.
“Unfortunately I cannot recall what day I did use the car park
“The penalty letter does show a photograph of my vehicle. However, the day I used that car park, I parked for over three hours and paid by the method I have described. I definitely did not go to Lincoln at all on the 28th June; neither did I use any other car park on the day.”
Comment from NCP
NCP is adamant that Mrs Merrison did use the car park on the day in question (June 26) and left without paying.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the company said they had clear photographic evidence to support issuing a fine.
She also outlined the appeal process and suggested Mrs Merrison was confused about which car park the offence was committed at.
The spokeswoman denied a disc system was in operation at the car park.
She said: “The customer parked for just over 22 minutes without payment.
“They appealed on 07/08/2019 and received a response on 20/08/2019.
“Following their rejection of appeal we informed them of the independent appeals service, POPLA, that they could also appeal to.
“We understand they appealed to POPLA on 28/08/2019.
“They would need to wait for the outcome of their appeal with POPLA as this is a separate organisation to NCP.
“We believe the customer, in her appeal and in your brief to us, is explaining a visit to a different car park.
“The customer told us via appeal they had taken a disc on entry and had inserted the disc into the payment machine which then took her payment and provided a disc to exit the car park which allowed the barrier arm to raise on exit therefore proving that she had paid.
“However, no payment was made to us for the car in question, and our car park does not have discs or barriers.”
After speaking to Mrs Merrison who was adamant that she wasn’t even in Lincoln on the date of the alleged offence, the News contacted NCP again.
This time, the spokeswoman said: “We can only add to our statement that we have very clear camera evidence of the vehicle in question being driven by a female into our car park on that date and staying for 22 minutes and 29 seconds in total, with no payment made for the parking session.”
In response, Mrs Merrison said: “I am a law abiding 77-year-old lady who would not contemplate avoiding payment for a car parking place.”