Dear Mr Mustard

On April 24 I was sitting in my car ready to drive off when a traffic warden popped up from nowhere and took a photo of the tax disc. No fine was served and stuck to the windscreen.

I received a penalty charge notice dated April 29 in the post demanding payment.

My questions are:

1) Is a warden allowed to take a photo, in this case the road tax, while the driver is in the car?

2) Is the authority right in demanding a payment even if no penalty was served and affixed to the car?

You reply and advice would be more than welcomed.

Best regards

Mr B


Dear Mr B,

Thank you for your interesting questions.

The simple answer to both questions is "Yes".

After that it gets more complicated.

In your case you are accused of parking across a dropped kerb. Even though one photograph was taken it is not available on the council website. Photographs are not compulsory but to convince the independent adjudicator that a penalty is payable there will need to be a positional drawing of your car and the kerb that was made at the time by the traffic warden. There will not be one.

The traffic warden also says that they had started to prepare a penalty charge notice. That is a question of fact that we can get them to prove. I doubt that the traffic warden had got any further than coming gleefully around the corner to find your car there and then not having more time than it took him to photograph your tax disc, so that he could make out he had performed a close and careful observation.

The drawback with a fine by post is that you don't get the opportunity for a risk free appeal whereby the council re-offer the discount if they refuse your challenge as the postal notice acts as the ‘notice to owner’. Thus, for a postal PCN, you get to make one challenge and, if refused, it is straight off to the independent adjudicator at PATAS. I think we will find ourselves at PATAS quite soon as I have filed your challenge for you.

You were outside the 14 days in which to pay the 50 per cent but inside the 28 days in which to challenge and so the decision to challenge was an obvious one.

Good luck

Mr Mustard