A bungling council slapped a motorist with a £60 fine after accusing him of driving in a bus lane – in one of their road sweepers.
Company director Jonathan Palgrave (32) was stunned to receive the penalty charge notice from Sheffield City Council – despite never visiting the city in his life.
Jonathan – who lives almost 100 miles away in Spalding – was ordered by transport bosses to cough up £60 in a letter which had a picture of his offending vehicle enclosed.
However, the “evidence” caught on camera clearly showed a Sheffield City Council worker wearing a fluorescent jacket driving around the city in his road sweeper on August 21.
Baffled Jonathan, who drives a Tiger kit car – and has never owned a road sweeper – was left fuming by the fine until he realised their hilarious error.
It wasn’t until he checked the picture closer that he realised the number plate of the lumbering wagon was one letter out from that of his lightweight sports car.
But when Jonathan contacted the authority to point out their mistake he was stunned to be told by bureaucratic council workers he must still go through the authority’s official statutory complaints procedure before the fine could be overturned.
He was also told the penalty could rise up to £90 if he failed to pay the fine within 28 days and threatened with possible legal action if it still wasn’t paid after that.
Jonathan said: “It’s just been a bureaucratic nightmare and it makes you wonder if it has happened before.
“It makes you want to know if it’s all automated or if someone looks at what they are actually sending out.
“I think I might write back on the form ‘have a look on the back’ so they look and see their own sweeper.
“When I first got it I just thought ‘oh my god, where have I been?’ I thought I was going to have to pay the fine.
“Then I realised I have never been to Sheffield in my life, let alone driven there.
“When I turned over the form I just laughed, there was the picture of this huge sweeper just sweeping the curb.
“They must have just mistaken the E in my car’s registration for the B in the sweepers, that’s the difference – other than them being completely different cars.
“I’m almost tempted to wait and take this to court and see what they say when it all gets to court.
“I’ve felt every emotion going – at first I was angry, then confused and now I can’t help but laugh about it.
“To send a picture of their own vehicle, which they will have records of is brilliant.
“They should really check those records from time to time.”
Married Jonathan has owned the £17,000 kit car for three months.
He added: “I’m happy with my kit car for now – but perhaps I could avoid any potential parking and speeding tickets in future if I bought a council road sweeper. “
The letter from Sheffield City Council informed Jonathan of his Bus Lane Penalty Charge Notice under the Transport Act 2000.
It read: “The alleged contravention has been detected and recorded by an Approved CCTV device.
“Sheffield City Council having reason therefore to believe that a penalty charge notice is payable, serves this PCN on you, as the person appearing to the Council to be the owner of the vehicle of the person liable to pay the penalty charge.”
It continues: “If at the end of the 28 day period no representations have been made and the penalty charge has not been paid, the Council may increase the penalty charge by one half to £90.00 and take steps to enforce payment of the increased penalty charge.”