9 December 2013

Now you see it, now you don't

On one previous occasion a traffic warden has been seen removing a PCN from a car in Finchley but whether that was nefarious behaviour or not was not proven as the car owner was unknown to those observing. Given that so many cases end up at PATAS where the motorist complains that the PCN was not on the windscreen Mr Mustard has long held the view that some traffic wardens are probably behaving wrongly. By such behaviour the opportunity to pay at 50% is lost. Any motorist who comes to Mr Mustard in such circumstances always appeals to PATAS as that costs the council £40 in PATAS fees and might eventually teach them to behave. Here is a recent adjudication which proves the point as no naughty schoolboy or other prankster could remove the PCN whilst the traffic warden is still there. The possibility occurs to Mr Mustard that in the below case the traffic warden photographed an empty yellow plastic wallet and then removed it.

The Appellant attended in person. The Authority did not attend and it was not represented.

The Appellant said that he saw the enforcement officer as he was returning to his vehicle. The officer was taking photographs of the vehicle at that time. The Appellant activated his central locking system so that his lights came on, to alert the CEO that he was returning. They walked past each other and the CEO told the Appellant that it was alright.

The Appellant said that he did not see a PCN on the vehicle. He checked the sign and realised that he had made a mistake. When he went home, he announced to his wife that he had been fortunate not to have received a PCN. Mrs M. who attended the hearing confirmed this part of the Appellant's evidence.

The CEO's photographs showed that the PCN had in deed been placed on the vehicle. A PCN is enforceable and the full amount is payable once it is served, even if it is removed by a third party before the driver returns. In this case, the likelihood of third party intervention is remote. The inference is that the CEO had removed it for one reason or another.

This is not something that is likely but having heard from the Appellant and his wife, I have concluded that it was the case. If a CEO removes a ticket after it has been placed on the vehicle, it has not been served. I do not accept that the PCN had been served on this occasion and I am allowing the appeal.

Mr Mustard notes the use of careful language by the adjudicator, a solicitor or barrister, & who is always mindful of an appeal, is speaking volumes with his choices of words, "remote" means about a zero chance and "for one reason or another" is left for the world to interpret as without the traffic warden there to cross-examine, we will never know. Mr Mustard might think this traffic warden is deliberately making life difficult for motorists but he can't prove it (yet, watch this space).

So remember, if you are scammed by the local authority in this way you can put in your representations to Barnet Council (by email to barnet@nslservices.co.uk ) and if they are rejected you will be sent the PATAS form. Fill out a few simple details (consult mrmustard@zoho.com for guidance if you so desire) and if you lose you still pay the full PCN price (£110 or £60 as the case may be, the chance to pay £55 or £30 having been denied to you) and if you win you pay £nil. Either way the council have to pay a £40 fee to PATAS.

Hit the council where it hurts them, in the pocket.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. There are now far too many cases of motorists not receiving the PCN on their car to be coincidence. I am not sure what the scam is, but it could involve the contract between council and enforcement company, as it is they who employ the CEOs. Possibly something in the cash flow as no PCN, means owner then gets a NtO at the full PCN rate and discount is lost. Something is going on with towing too, and again one needs to see what the payment arrangements are to the towing company. A few bungs to CEOs could increase their cash flow immensely if they are paid per tow.

  2. Actually towing away for a contravention does not happen in Barnet but the bailiff can remove your vehicle later if the PCN gets that far. This is why every PCN should be appealed at every stage.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.