“I appealed the fine straight away because I thought surely they will understand that I was not parked up and didn’t leave my vehicle,” Rev James Bamber.
Rev James Bamber received the parking charge in The Walks, Huntingdon, while driving for the Huntingdonshire Volunteer Centre (HVC) on April 28.
The minister had picked up an elderly woman with mobility issues from Barclays Bank and helped her get into his car along with her walking aid.
Just two days later he received a letter from National Parking Enforcement Ltd ordering him to pay £100 which would be reduced to £60 if paid within two weeks.
He appealed – which was rejected.
However, since The Hunts Post contacted the company, they said the charge had been cancelled after it appeared due to an “internal error with a software glitch due to covid19 on the appeals and issuing section”.
Rev Bamber, who oversees a group of Methodist churches in the town, explained: “When the lady came out of the bank she couldn’t see me and started to walk towards another red car.
“I drove forward and reversed into the street [The Walks] so that she could spot me and I helped her get into the car and put her walker in then drove home.
“I appealed the fine straight away because I thought ‘surely they will understand’ that I was not parked up and didn’t leave my vehicle.”
The parking charge letter showed pictures of Rev Bamber’s Kia Picanto in the street from 11.27.09 to 11.28.14 - a mere 65 seconds.
“I can accept that a camera just took the pictures, but surely a human being was judging the appeal process and not just a computer,” he continued.
“The signage is obscure and there isn’t a no entry sign or anything warning not to go there.”
Jenny Clarke, secretary at HVC, said someone at the enforcement company “must take responsibility for such a stupid blunder”.
She added: “No one should have to suffer the anxiety and irritation that receiving such a letter will generate, especially now.”
Cllr Barry Chapman, who sits on Huntingdonshire District Council, added: “In our large towns local companies see this as a way of distancing themselves from this behaviour.”
National Parking Enforcement Ltd were informed that this story would still be published following the parking charge cancellation, but did not respond before our print deadline on Tuesday.