Thursday, 27 August 2015

UK Parking Control apparently fraudulently altering timestamps.Part II

In a previous post,The Prankster drew attention to two threads on MoneySavingExpert where the motorists thought that UK Parking Control were fraudulently altering timestamps on photographs.

The Prankster has now obtained the photographs submitted to POPLA by UK Parking Control in one case. Here is a side by side comparison of photographs allegedly taken at 7:15 and 9:27. The photographs are not quite taken from the same place.

Of special interest are the shadows.

The Prankster has used an online shadow generator to generate shadows for the same date, times, and place. It should be noted that the photographs are using UK Summer Time, which is one hour ahead of UTC, so 7:15 becomes 6:15 and 9:27 becomes 8:27.

The yellow line is the sun's declination circle. The white line is the ecliptic.

Expected shadow at 6:15

Expected shadow at 8:27

It can be seen that the shadow at 6:15 should be much larger that the shadow at 8:27. Additionally, the shadow should have moved significantly clockwise. Neither effect is apparent.

Suppose the parking warden instead of taking the pictures two hours apart only took them 10 or so minutes apart, by winding their clock back 2 hours. This is what the shadow would look like if the picture was taken at 8.15 instead of 6.15

This appears to be much more like the pictures above. The Prankster therefore suggests that the most likely scenario appears to be the the warden wound the clock back two hours, took a photo, wound the clock to the correct time, waited 10 or so minutes then took another photo.

Here is an overhead of the parking space, showing North.

Lamppost Shadow

Perhaps the best indication that the times are faked is the shadow of the lamppost on the building roof. (The Prankster thanks the eagle-eyed person who pointed this out - you know who you are).

The left side shows the photo supposedly taken at 7:17; the right at 9:27. If these were really taken so far apart the shadow would have moved significantly. It has not.

Here is a screenshot from Google Streetview showing the building and the lamppost.

How should shadows change?

Although these photographs were taken from a different latitude and on a different day, they give the general idea of how shadows change over a few hours in the morning.

7.25 AM 28/08/15

8.20 AM 28/08/15

9.22 AM 28/08/15

Caveat Emptor

The Prankster has acted three times as an expert witness, twice for the prosecution and once for the defence. In one case, the analysis helped secure a conviction. In the second it convinced the prosecution to drop the case. In the third, which happened after the trial but before the sentencing, the Prankster's analysis helped show the conviction was totally flawed and therefore unsafe. A retrial was ordered. The defendant took a plea bargain, admitted a single charge of disorderly conduct and was fined $100, rather than the 40 years sentence she was originally facing.

However, none of these cases involved shadows, and The Prankster's analysis may therefore be wrong.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. The prankster's analysis supposes that the parking weasel has pulled a fast one so it's definitely not wrong then, is it? The Prankster's probably an expert witness then, isn't he?

    Now take look at the clouds. Particularly the one directly above the bus stop that's mostly white with a grey bottom left section. An almost identical one passed over two hours later, Spooky huh?

  2. Check digital file CRC checksum

    1. None was available in the format it was provided in the POPLA pack

    2. Wouldn't help, they are clearly two different pictures. One before slapping the ticket on, one after.

  3. Never mind fiddling with the clock. Some dedicated cameras (Panasonic Lumix, for example) have a "timezone" feature intended for travel use that lets you switch between times literally at the press of a button (or two).

    I'd start with fraud by false representation, and then ponder misconduct in a public office. I'm sure that if you robustly chastised a parking mugger that it would claim special status as a public-facing apparatchik.

    1. You are barking if you think there's a case for misconduct in public office given how restrictively the courts have interpreted the offence

  4. The deception is easier seen by the shadow from the radio aerial. Very little difference to be seen.

    I don't know the particular case on the forums but I'm guessing that this was a NTK type operation by stealth. Another ghost ticketing exercise. Place a ticket, photo it, remove it.
    The operative would be found out far quickly if it was a legitimate "leave it on the windscreen" driver notification ticketing. Removing it then having a NTK puts 28 days minimum between the incident before a NTK making it more difficult to appeal.

    This sort of ploy happens more with IPA members. They ticket on site, photo it, remove the ticket then a NTK comes too late for payment of the reduced amount and too late to appeal (IPA process only).
    It's also more likely to be done by a self ticketing car park operative as this way he generates more commission on the larger payment.
    This is a typical sort of UKCPS activity

    1. Just meant to add. This should be reported for legal action.

    2. Someone with a dashcam perhaps? Another visit?

  5. Oh dear. They seem to be making quite a habit of this. There's a report here - - where an adjoining car has its boot open in both photos. That's rather compelling evidence of fraud.