New rules clamp city’s mobile disco ticketing cheat

The van, which has racked up 77 unpaid fines
The van, which has racked up 77 unpaid fines
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The Capital’s worst parking cheat has become the first victim of new powers that allow the city council to clamp the vehicles of drivers that have run up massive debts in unpaid fines.

Parking wardens swooped on the owner of a business van that they say has run up £6310 in unpaid fines by parking illegally or without paying.

They have issued fines to the Sound N Vision Entertainments-branded van on 77 different occasions since August 2010, mainly in the area around Angle Park Terrace, which links Slateford and Dalry.

But the owner of the van today insisted that wardens had made a mistake and that he has only received four parking tickets that he has refused to pay.

The city council introduced the new clamping crackdown earlier this year to deal with persistent parking offenders and was the first council in Scotland to use powers to claw back £3 million in uncollected fines from drivers that repeatedly flout the law.

It is now set to go after other serial offenders, with five different vehicles responsible for £12,480 of unpaid fines from 153 tickets.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader, said: “Cracking down on persistent fine dodgers is a top priority for us so we’re delighted the action is getting results.”

The van’s registered owner, Ian Greig, denies that he has run up the number of fines that the council claims.

However, council officials say they have photographic evidence of each ticket, alongside a date and location.

They say that a total of 82 parking tickets have been slapped on the van since 2009 but only five of the fines have been paid. The 77 that have gone unpaid have all been dished out since August 2010.

Mr Greig, who runs mobile disco and karaoke Sound N Vision, said: “Who is exaggerating these figures? If I had 77 fines totalling more than £6000 do you think Edinburgh council would allow me to have that van? I have had four unpaid parking tickets and the reason they are unpaid is I believe the tickets were placed on the vehicle unfairly.”

In one case, he said that he received a fine while he was paying for his ticket at a parking machine, while on another occasion he said he was getting change for the machine from a nearby shop. Two other fines were for staying longer than he had paid for, which he said was a genuine mistake.

He said: “The parking wardens do not seem to like seeing my van on the street –they seem to have something against me and my van.

“There is no fact in it and it will give me a bad name. Someone has made a mistake or got their wires crossed.”

Mr Greig admitted that four other people drive the van but said he has only had correspondence from the council about four unpaid tickets.

Clamping was once effectively illegal in Scotland, but a 1998 amendment to the existing legislation has given the council the power to immobilise vehicles in circumstances in which a fine is payable.