Dad of disabled girl wins two-month battle over hospital parking fine

Blue badge holder Joe Crane with his ParkingEye fine at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Blue badge holder Joe Crane with his ParkingEye fine at South Tyneside District Hospital.

A South Tyneside dad has slammed hospital chiefs for a CCTV system blunder that led to a two-month battle for parking justice.

Joe Crane, 37, said he endured stress and annoyance after wrongly being hit with a hefty fine at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Joe Crane was told an IT upgrade led to the parking fine being mistakenly issued to his wife.

Joe Crane was told an IT upgrade led to the parking fine being mistakenly issued to his wife.

An IT upgrade mishap to its ‘big brother’ ParkingEye camera set-up led to a penalty charge being issued against the disability vehicle used for his seven-year-old daughter.

Days after his wife parked at the South Shields site for just 46 minutes during a visit in April, a £42 fine arrived at their Jarrow home.

Two appeals were rejected, despite Mr Crane presenting email confirmation evidence that his wife had logged their vehicle online almost a year and a half earlier.

The first refusal was by ParkingEye, the other by POPLA, the independent appeals service for parking on private land.

There are no humans involved in this process, it becomes very frustrating and stressful

Joe Crane

Only after being contacted by the Gazette did the hospital admit an IT upgrade error to ParkingEye was to blame.

Mr Crane, whose fine rose to £70 due to contesting it, has now been told he will get his money back.

Despite his relief, he accused the hospital of operating a flawed monitoring system and of ignoring genuine complaints.

He said: “We followed the links on the hospital’s website and did everything we believed we had to, to log our new vehicle.

“My wife even received an email reply confirming this and which stated we only had to get in touch again if we changed vehicle or Blue Badge number

“There are no humans involved in this process, it becomes very frustrating and stressful.

“I would urge anyone who feels they have been wrongly fined at the hospital to pursue all options and not to give in.”

Mr Crane’s wife logged details of the family’s new white Citroen C5 Picasso car and their existing Blue Badge details in December 2016.

Three days later, she received a confirmation email that the information had been updated and no further action was needed.

But in April they were fined after a short visit to the hospital’s wheelchair services department.

Steve Jamieson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s director of estates and facilities, admitted a mistake had been made.

He said: “Regretfully, due to an error caused by a ParkingEye IT systems update, a parking charge notice was wrongly issued in this case.

“We apologise unreservedly to the Crane family for the upset and inconvenience caused, and we can assure them that the parking charge notice has been cancelled.

“Our trust is working closely with ParkingEye to improve the appeals process.”