The Parking Prankster has been sent a series of documents relating to a court claim dropped by ParkingEye once they were faced with overwhelming proof their ANPR system was at fault.
The Parking Prankster is currently in the middle of writing a piece on why ANPR cannot be relied on, given especially that it does not have X-Ray vision and cannot see through vehicles and pedestrians. However, until this is published anyone wanting the low-down should download The Prankster's free legal guide from Smashwords and read the chapter 4.4 'Visited Twice'. The Prankster's website also contains several documents explaining why ANPR is not accurate. Exhibits ex013 to ex019 are all relevant.
In the current case, the motorist explained in his defence that he had never parked in their car park, but regularly visited twice a day to drop his daughter off to work, and pick her up again afterwards.
I believe this claim to be the result of an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) error. To my knowledge I have never actually parked in the car park in question, but in December 2012 (which is when I assume the alleged contravention took place) I was regularly dropping my daughter off as she works in Waitrose, which is adjacent to the specified car park. Having dropped her off, I would return later in the day to collect her. I believe this claim to be the result of “drop off” (Excel Parking Services v Hetherington-Jakeman, Mansfield County Court, March 2008. Page 5 paragraphs 13-14) where only the first entrance and last exit are recorded, resulting in an incorrectly recorded overstay.
It is my belief that ParkingEye have access to logs that record vehicle movements entering and exiting their network of car parks, and I have asked ParkingEye to provide me with details off all recorded movements of my vehicle during the month of December 2012. I believe this will demonstrate that at the time in question I was regularly visiting the car park twice a day for the reason stated above. See attached copy letterParkingEye sent in a bad tempered reply to defence.
As soon as I receive full details from ParkingEye, in particular the date and times, I hope to be able to provide proof that this alleged contravention could not have occurred
The Defendant states that he was merely dropping his daughter off at the car park, as she is employed by Waitrose store adjacent to the site. He states that the ANPR system captured the initial entry and the final exit which has resulted in the parking charge.The Defendant implies that the two pictures printed on the parking charge notice do not constitute images of a vehicle which was parked for the continuous period of time which the defendant stayed for. ParkingEye would advise the Defendant that our ANPR camera system captures an image of a vehicle as it enters and leave a car park. If, as the Defendant is implying, the vehicle entered and left, only to re-enter later in the day, the ANPR system would have two separate images of each occasion.This is an outrageous attempt to deceive the court. ParkingEye are telling huge lies here, and it is beyond the bounds of probability that they are not fully aware they are doing this. To understand why, a brief diversion into the technical workings of ANPR is needed. Unlike CCTV, an ANPR system does not record a continuous video stream. Instead, it only takes an image when the software and hardware detect a numberplate. This means that if a numberplate is obscured in any way then no image will be recorded. ANPR does not have X-ray capabilities and so if a pedestrian walks behind the vehicle or another vehicle drives too close, then the numberplate will not be visible and no image will be recorded. ParkingEye are perfectly aware of this fundamental shortcoming of their system. To state 'our ANPR camera system captures an image of a vehicle as it enters and leave a car park' is therefore nothing short of an outright lie. A more truthful parking company would state something along the lines of 'our ANPR camera system captures an image of a vehicle as it enters and leaves a car park, as long as a numberplate is detected.'
Of course, incidents like this do not happen every time; but if you regularly visit car parks twice a day they will happen now and then, as The Prankster knows only too well. With over 800 car parks, ParkingEye should expect a significant number of these double visit errors every week.
In robust ANPR systems, operators bury induction loops in the ground at the camera points. These loops detect the presence of a vehicle and cause extra images to be recorded, whether or not a numberplate is detected. For whatever reason, ParkingEye choose not to make their system robust which results in issuing substantial number of incorrect tickets for double visits.
ParkingEye, it seems, were fully aware of the shortcomings of their system. At the same time as sending this pack of lies to the court, ParkingEye also sent an offer to settle to the defendant for £50.
The defendant reiterated his request to ParkingEye asking for full logs showing every entry and exit of his vehicle for a month. ParkingEye keep these records and have been known in the past to produce them in court when it supports their case. However, they refused to produce them for this claim. The logs would of course have backed up the defendant's claim that he regularly visited the car park twice daily and never parked there.
The defendant then sent categorical proof that at the time of the incident he was working over 3 miles away and stated he would not be paying any settlement as the problem was entirely of ParkingEye's own making due to their faulty machinery.
Faced with overwhelming proof of the unreliability of their ANPR system ParkingEye backed down and cancelled the claim.
This story illustrates the mindset of ParkingEye employees who are unable to admit that their system is flawed and would rather fleece innocent motorists than invest a few hundred pounds installing induction loops.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. The Prankster is aware of other claims where ParkingEye refuse to provide vehicle logs because this would destroy their case and their credibility.
The Parking Prankster