Airport’s not for turning: Robin Hood slaps parking ticket on car doing a U-turn (and it was driven by Ms Turner)

A driver is refusing to pay £150 for turning round on an airport road after losing her way - even though she risks being taken to court.
Anna TurnerAnna Turner
Anna Turner

Anna Turner was issued with a parking charge notice after taking a wrong turning on one of the private roads near Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport in May.

Ms Turner, of Arlington Avenue, Cottingham, near Hull, who was travelling to Poland to see her ailing 86-year-old mother, says she was only 18 seconds going into a space, “taking her bearings” and then reversing to get out of a dead end road.

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Images taken by a mobile CCTV camera show that her lights were on and she did not get out.

Parking enforcement firm Vehicle Control Services says her car was stationary “for a minimum of 33 seconds.”

Yesterday the AA described the fine as “grossly unfair” and “an excessive charge for an incredibly short space of time.”

The fine has now escalated from £60 to £150 and she is now being threatened with the matter being put in the hands of lawyers.

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But Ms Turner said she would not pay the “extortionate” charge, and accused VCS, which controls the roads around the airport, of “bullying.”

She said: “I am not going to pay because I think it is a ridiculous situation and will go to court - and prison - if need be. I paused for a fraction of time and did not cause a problem to anyone. It was raining, the visibility was poor and I was worried about my mother, having been told she was not well. I’d only lost my father less than two years previously.

“Whether it was 33 seconds as they have suggested, or the 18 I believe it was, it was a ridiculously short period of time, just the sort of time a worried and confused person would take to get out of an unknown area.”

Ms Turner appealed the original notice, which was rejected and was offered an independent appeal which she declined having taken legal advice.

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“Having my appeal rejected, I did not realise I could go even further,” she said. “I am a legal novice - my greatest misdemeanour ever has been a late payment of a credit card bill.”

The most recent letter from ZZPS, which has been given the case by VCS, said the next step would be to refer the matter to solicitors, and that would increase the bill “by a minimum of £25.”

AA spokesman Paul Watters said the charge against Ms Turner was exactly what they were campaigning to prevent. He said: “No one should be issuing parking notices for less than a minute. We have been calling for regulation of enforcement activity for years. If she had stopped on a single yellow line in a city there would be a short observation period of at least a minute to make sure she wasn’t parking.

“We know airports are busy places but it is not an excuse to print money.”

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VCS says she could have appealed to the Independent Appeals Service, at no cost, and they “had no alternative” but to refer the matter to a “debt recovery agent”. They said she would have driven past entrance signs warning “no stopping at any time” and 14 similar signs.

Peel Land and Property, which owns the land around the airport, said three years ago problems with cars left on access roads had left them no choice but to issue tickets. At the time they said parked cars were a “security risk”. Since then several forums have sprung up on social networking sites trying to help drivers who have fallen foul of the rules.

VCS said there was “no set criteria on a minimum time a vehicle can remain stationary as a number of factors are taken into account before a PCN is issued.” They added: “She did not take up the option to appeal to the IAS and, despite two further warning letters chasing payment, VCS had no alternative but to refer the matter to one of their appointed Debt Recovery Agents; inevitably, such action has resulted in the cost of the PCN escalating. We remain satisfied that the PCN was issued correctly and that Ms Turner has been given the opportunity to have her case independently adjudicated.”