SCOTTISH traffic wardens have revealed some of the hopeless, hilarious and heart-rending reasons given by drivers for appealing against tickets.
Excuses range from humdrum claims that the driver was getting change, to blaming the wind, broken limbs, and needing the toilet.
In many cases, irate drivers simply use the parking appeal form to launch tirades against “council robbers”.
In Orkney, a bus driver who parked in spaces reserved for cars came up with the feeble excuse that “all other bus bays were occupied”.
Another Orkney driver apparently believed a £60 fine could be avoided because they had a “For Sale” sign on the car.
And one hopelessly optimistic driver in Ayrshire tried to appeal to the conscience of traffic wardens by claiming: “I’m not familiar with Kilmarnock.”
Other drivers simply used the appeal form to try to get even with their tormenters.
A motorist from Renfrewshire claimed: “The parking attendant was drunk, offensive, swore at me.”
Another irate driver ticketed by the same local authority simply wrote “the council are robbers”.
If the excuses are to be believed, large numbers of Scots drivers suffer chronic incontinence.
Back in Orkney, a driver claimed: “Traveller in car has bowel problem and needed to park near to toilet so weren’t in a marked bay.” The council was unimpressed and refused to waive the fine.
In Aberdeenshire a motorist unsuccessfully claimed: “Needed toilet and had no time purchase ticket.”
One of the most common – and pointless excuses – relates to lack of change. Moray rejected all such appeals on the grounds that drivers are given time to get change.
And drivers who complain a ticket machine is out of order are also likely to get short shrift with councils saying motorists should find another machine or follow advice notices.
But traffic wardens, despite their fearsome image, do occasionally reveal a glimmer of humanity.
Orkney admitted it accepted an appeal from a pensioner who was “unaware how strict parking system is” and has “no income”. The same council also let off two drivers who “thought it was free car parking on a public holiday”.
Another ticket was cancelled – perhaps not unreasonably – after a driver in Ayrshire took ill whilst shopping.
It emerged today (Fri) that a driver in Hamilton must pay a £136 parking fine after his appeal was rejected. Andrew Henderson, 41, is furious because he claims his Land Rover broke down. South Lanarkshire Council said he provided no proof of the breakdown.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Council said: “With regard to the reasons given by people for disputing a parking ticket, we will consider mitigating circumstances such as medical emergency or vehicle break down.”
Figures released earlier this year also showed that motorists are four times more likely to be let off a parking ticket in the most lenient area of Scotland compared with the toughest.
Officials in Argyll and Bute rip up an astonishing 83% of parking tickets that are appealed by drivers.
But East Ayrshire has emerged as the most hard-line area of the country when it comes to parking enforcement, only letting off 20% of motorists who challenge their ticket.
Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said that the figures show that some councils are giving out tickets when they shouldn’t be.
He said: “It is absolutely stunning that in some councils the success rate for parking appeals is so high, as it suggests that the authority is getting its fines wrong on a massive scale.”
He added: “Too often people will just pay a fine rather than go to the trouble of challenging it, so there is every reason to think this means lots of people have been ripped off with fines inappropriate charges.”
The Freedom of Information Act was used to ask councils how many parking ticket appeals were successful and reasons given.
Argyll and Bute issued 1,032 tickets last year, of which 169 were appealed. Remarkably, only 29 parking fines were upheld.
East Ayrshire issued a similar number of tickets at 1,096 and a similar proportion were appealed, 143. But the council upheld 114 of the fines.
In Edinburgh, almost 188,000 tickets were issued and 43% of drivers who challenged their fines were successful at appeal. Glasgow issued 143,000 tickets but just 24% of appeals succeeded.