Barking pensioners hit with £900 worth of parking fines

cars parked with tickets

A couple from Barking have to pay £910 in parking fines. - Credit: PA

A couple in their 70s who admit struggling with technology have been hit with seven parking fines totalling more than £900.

Annemarie Green and Leslie Banwell, who are both 73, thought they had arranged for a permit to park outside their home in Thames View in February.

Annemarie, a retired cook, said: "We thought we had a parking permit. We don't even know if we've got a permit now.

"It's all online. I don't understand this automated system. We're both 73. I just can't work it properly."

At the prospect of having to pay hundreds of pounds, Annemarie said: "It would cripple us. We live on pension credit."

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Unsure of the process, the couple thought their efforts to apply online meant the permit was arranged and they could park.

On return from holiday in Portugal on May 22, they quarantined at home for 10 days.

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But with their van parked out of sight, they said they did not see three tickets appear on the windscreen over successive days.

Once quarantine ended, they saw them and headed to Barking Learning Centre to check whether they had a permit or not.

The couple say they were advised someone at the council would call but claim no one did.

Meanwhile, tickets continued to pile up, with seven in total amounting to £910.

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesperson said the local authority responded to a request for help logging onto a permit account on February 3.

But he said there was no further correspondence with the couple, which they deny.

He added no permits have been applied for or bought via RingGo or the council's new permit system.

Because the couple did not buy any permits until June 22 - after the last penalty was issued - he said the fines will need to be paid.

He said: "The permit system details were provided three months prior to the first [penalty charge notice] being issued.

"It is the responsibility of the motorist to ensure their vehicle holds a valid permit for the area in which they reside, before parking their vehicle."

Five of the fines remain unpaid and two are now going through an appeal process.

The council spokesperson said if the couple feel they need help with the debts, they can speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

He recommended older and "vulnerable" people without access to a smartphone, tablet or computer can visit any council library for help.

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