A MOTORIST was shocked to discover he had been given a parking ticket after having to abandon his vehicle which had unexpectedly run out of fuel.
Ben Johnson, a builder from Bideford, had to leave his car in the bus stop on Bideford Quay when he ran out of fuel without warning because his fuel gauge had broken.
The 21-year-old left a note in his car explaining he had gone to get more fuel and went to Morrisons to buy a container and some fuel.
But 13 minutes later, when he had reached his car with the fuel, he found a parking ticket had already been issued.
Ben saw the traffic warden further down the quay and went to challenge the reason for the ticket, but he was told running out of fuel was a driver error.
Ben said: "Due to a mechanical fault on my MG ZT my trip computer showed 'range 13 miles' when actually I had zero miles, this resulted in me running out of fuel
"I was left with either abandoning my car in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, and subsequently wasting police time, or safely rolling into the front corner of the bus stop just outside Bideford Square.
"I understand, of course, that parking officers have a job to do. However, as a local Bideford man I also know how many people in the town have an issue with the current parking system.
Ben contested the parking fine with Torridge District Council and on Monday received a letter saying the ticket had been discontinued.
Ben said: "This is almost more annoying because why couldn't they have just not issued it in the first place and save the hassle for everyone. The point is they didn't have a leg to stand on.
"I can understand why they would have given me a ticket if I had left it there all day, but I been gone less than 15 minutes."
But Councillor Geoff Lee, the lead member for parking at Torridge District Council, said: "Parking in a bus stop is an instant penalty charge notice offence.
"We can't have buses unloading their passengers in the middle of the road at any time, but especially at peak times.
"Our CEO (civil enforcement officer) was perfectly correct in issuing Mr Johnson a ticket.
"I'm afraid a note in the windscreen without a contact number for the CEO to confirm the details simply isn't good enough.
"Let's face it, anyone can write a note in their car saying 'back in 10 minutes'.
"But when we received Mr Johnson's e-mail with his explanation three weeks after the incident, we were happy to cancel the PCN.
"The council will always listen, and if the circumstances are right, will cancel PCNs (penalty charge notice). Our CEOs do an immensely difficult job very well and I'm proud of the work they do."