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Watch your parking meters

Local councils that use mobile CCTV units may have to pay back thousands of pounds worth of parking tickets after a driver successfully appealed on his case, citing a technicality.

Nigel Wise, caught by a camera in Richmond-upon-Thames, proved in court that the mobile unit that caught him had not been approved by the Department of Transport and so ws ineligible to give out tickets.

As a result of the decision, Richmond Council has calculated that it may now have to pay back £1.05m worth of tickets issued between 2009 and 2011.

Now other councils using the CCTV units need to find out if they have the right authorisation to use the vehicles on the road for the purpose of catching parking miscreants.

These mobile units have been criticised in the past for their over-zealous ticketing, and many commentators think that what has happened is a case of just deserts. 'The dash for cash through the sheer number of PCN's which CCTV can dish out has clearly caught out some local authorities and deservedly so,' said Paul Watters of the AA.

The Traffic Management Act of 2008 governs the use of the CCTV smart cars. In the case in Richmond, it transpires that Vehicle Certification Agency paperwork was incorrect. This could also be the case with other councils, and if so, motorists who supposedly have fallen foul of the law may be in line for a windfall.

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