Car crime victim 'not exempt' from parking ticket from Merton Council

Wimbledon Guardian: Thanyarat Santichatsak with husband Adrian Mills in Wimbledon Village's High Street Thanyarat Santichatsak with husband Adrian Mills in Wimbledon Village's High Street

Parking illegally for only one minute, even just after being the victim of a theft, was not a good enough reason to cancel a woman’s parking ticket - until her husband contacted us.

Thanyarat Santichatsak, who lives in Murray Road, Wimbledon Village, was caught parking outside her restaurant, Thai Tho in the Village High Street, for one minute to tell her staff she had to drive the car to Wimbledon police station.

Her car’s passenger window had been smashed and her mobile phone stolen from inside.

She appealed to Merton Council on the grounds of “extreme circumstances” and said: “I pulled over, engine running and called the shop assistant to tell her I was sorry I could not keep my appointment as I was in a bit of a state, as I had just been a victim of car crime.

“Obviously I couldn’t leave the car as it would encourage further crime and I couldn’t phone.”

The response from an unnamed Parking Services employee was: “I have noted the comments within your letter and, whilst I sympathise with the situation and the circumstances surrounding the issue of the PCN, unfortunately the reasons described does not grant exemption of the parking regulations.

But, after her husband Adrian Mills complained to the Wimbledon Guardian, we asked Merton Council if they could explain to readers what flexibility there was for “extreme circumstances” when people break parking by-laws.

They refused to comment but a spokeswoman revealed the £55 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) would be cancelled.

She said: “We are very sorry to hear about this incident and, having looked into it further, we are happy to help by cancelling the Penalty Charge Notice.

“In cases like this, where there are mitigating circumstances, we will always do what we can to help out.”

Mr Mills, a voiceover artist, presenter, and former journalist, said: “I suspect if the Wimbledon Guardian had not got involved we would have had to go through a tribunal.

“Thanks Merton Council for being responsible, but people in Wimbledon Village are really fed up of this Big Brother-style approach to parking enforcement.”

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