Landlord of Station Inn, Ribblehead, in parking fine battle with Preston City Council

Public-spirited publican Allan Shutt had no hesitation springing into action when he saw three men breaking into a car in a council-owned multi-storey car park.

But, as he chased after the thieves, the parking ticket on his own car expired and he was issued with a penalty charge notice.

He is refusing to pay and, despite nearly a year elapsing, he is no nearer resolving the dispute.

“I think the council should have sent me a letter of thanks rather than a parking ticket,” said Mr Shutt, who has been landlord of the Station Inn at Ribblehead for the past four years.

However, Preston City Council says it received no reports of criminal activity in the area on that day and cannot corroborate his account of events. Despite that, the publican is adamant he will not pay up, even though the bailiffs have now been brought in.

“I will go to jail before I pay anything. I have done nothing wrong and I will take my case to Brussels if I have to,” he said.

He says his nightmare started after he parked his Range Rover on level five of the Market Hall multi-storey car park in Preston on August 17.

“When I went back, I saw three Asian men, in their early 20s, breaking into a nearby vehicle. I made a lot of noise and shouted and screamed at them, hoping they would run away.

“Another couple then arrived and the men ran off down the ramp. But we decided we couldn’t leave it at that as we feared the men could break into another car in the car park. We tried to find the attendant, but he wasn’t in his box.”

When Mr Shutt returned to his car, he was shocked to receive a penalty charge notice. He says he contacted Preston City Council to tell them what had happened, but was told he would have to pay the fine because they did not accept his explanation.

The longer the dispute continues, the more Mr Shutt is being asked to pay. The original £75 bill has already risen to £219.44.

But he does not regret chasing after the thieves. “This country would be a lot better place if people looked out for each other. The only thing I regret is getting involved with the council,” he said.

A council spokesman said: “We had received no reports of any criminal activity occurring in the Market Hall car park that day either from Mr Shutt or from any of our attendants or other car park users. Our CCTV does not provide any evidence of criminal activity either and therefore we cannot corroborate Mr Shutt’s story.

“Therefore we believe the notice was served correctly and that Mr Shutt has been given the opportunity to appeal or to pay the notice.

“Since this had not happened within the required timeframe, the notice has now been passed on to bailiffs to recover the charge.”

Lancashire Telegraph | Preston