Parking cowboys charge me £60 for good deed

Just how contemptuously selfish and money grabbing is our society? Let me explain what upsets me at the moment.

Friday, 26th September 2014, 1:00 pm

On the afternoon of August 19th, my wife and I were returning to Clitheroe from Chipping. Just before Higher Hodder bridge we came across a motorcyclist who had just crashed. We stopped and because he was injured – but not apparently so badly as to need an ambulance – we took him to Clitheroe Health Centre, but they would not look at him.

We were told to either take him to Royal Blackburn Hospital or call an ambulance. He did not want to go to hospital so we took him to our home and gave him a cup of tea. We called the police to tell them the rider of the damaged motorbike at Higher Hodder bridge was OK and being looked after. They were not interested and took no details.

The motorcyclist, who lives in Whitefield, near Manchester, called his daughter and she said she would reach Whalley at 2-38pm according to her satnav. I then drove him to Whalley, arriving at Whalley Arms car park at 2-41pm.

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I never normally go to Whalley and have never used that car park before.

When we arrived we were looking for his daughter and I expected to be gone again in less than five minutes. In fact it took 16 minutes before I was able to leave, father and daughter now safely reunited. Innocently I drove home to clean the mud out of my car, thinking I had been of some help.

Two weeks later I received a threatening letter demanding £100 or £60 if I paid promptly, payable to Parking Eye. If I had gone to Whalley to visit the shops and received the demand I would consider myself foolish for letting it happen, but of course I had no intention of going to Whalley on the day, only left the car park on foot to look for his daughter and never even saw any of the eight notices around the car park as I was looking for a car.

It is my first parking infringement in over 50 years of driving and I thought I had extenuating circumstances.

I wrote to the appeals department of Parking Eye explaining how I had come to miss seeing the signs and asking for some leniency in view of the circumstances. I also enclosed a cheque for the £60 and suggested that if they viewed my appeal favourably they might return it uncashed. I was hoping that behind the impartial, inanimate camera there may be a real human being.

Alas, my cheque was simply cashed. No letter from the appeals department. No reference number to go to further arbitration. Simply, we have your money and hard luck. I knew about the “Parking Cowboys” and now I know they are real and inhabit the centre of Whalley.

I am annoyed my efforts to help cost me quite dearly, but I am much more saddened to think humanity and reasonable consideration towards one another seem to be fading into distant memories. Of course the antics of MPs, bankers all sorts of other rip-off merchants hardly fosters considerate behaviour in the rest of us, but a considerate society is a much nicer place for everyone.

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