Banker fined £775 after refusing to pay £35 fine for illegally parked Porsche

Jason Payne, with his original £35 parking ticket outside Sainsbury's in Huntingdon.

Jason Payne, with his original £35 parking ticket outside Sainsbury's in Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

A PORSCHE driver’s £35 parking fine for leaving his luxury car in Huntingdon Sainsbury’s overflow car park without a valid ticket turned into a £775 fine when he refused to pay up.

Jason Payne, an investment banker who works in Canary Wharf, objected to the fine, which he was given at 2.16pm on April 10, “out of principle” because he believed the signage for the car park was inadequate.

Huntingdonshire District Council rejected each of his three appeals, saying: “The prominent sign quite clearly indicates that this is an extension of the Sainsbury’s car park and highlights the main conditions that drivers are required to comply with.”

When the 34-year-old’s payment was not forthcoming, HDC summoned him to court – where magistrates increased his original fine by more than 22 times because he had the means to pay.

“All I did was fail to pay a 60p parking ticket where I didn’t think I had to anyway. People get less for assault or burglary,” said Mr Payne, who says he has contested 40 council parking tickets in the past and has only ever lost on four occasions.

“I just want to publicise the heavy-handedness of such a minor, victimless matter. The courts and the council should not exploit and extort members of the public in such a way just for shopping at Sainsbury’s.”

The original fine was £50 but would have been reduced to £35 if the fine was paid promptly within 14 days. As it was, HDC actually gave Mr Payne an extra 37 days to pay the fine at the reduced rate.

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Had he parked in the main Sainsbury’s main car park just yards away, Mr Payne would have been able to leave his 2006 registration Porsche Cayman S there legally for up to one hour for as little as 60p. Had he been shopping in Sainsbury’s, he could also have got a refund.

Previously Mr Payne, who was in Huntingdon doing some contract work for Anglian Water but lives in Stratford, has appealed parking tickets in other parts of the country through a civil process which does not involve legal proceedings.

He said he was shocked HDC decided to prosecute, saying of his case at Huntingdon Law Courts on December 20: “I felt like I was being dragged over the coals through the whole hearing.

“This just seems to be a way to make the council and court money and deter people from appealing against parking tickets.

“In reality, I do not think there is any real independent recourse for appealing a parking ticket. The court just looks at the fact I failed to pay the excess charge. How it got to that point is irrelevant as far as the court is concerned.

“I believe that is a major infringement on my human rights.”

Mr Payne’s fine might get bigger still – he intends on appealing his punishment at the magistrates’ court, which could involve re-sentencing and extra legal costs if he loses.