CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Parking protest: Driver refused to leave her car when wardens tried to tow it way

Vehicle was taken off tow truck "on safety grounds"

30 July, 2018 — By William McLennan

Debbie Ricketts: “I got in my car and said I’m not leaving”

POLICE were called this morning after a motorist refused to leave her car when it was hoisted on to the back of a tow truck.

Debbie Ricketts launched the successful one-woman protest when she discovered that Camden Council parking wardens were in the process of removing her car from Doynton Street in Highgate Newtown.

“I came out of my house to go to work and found my car floating in the air. I said can you please put it down, so I can go to work,” she said.

When they refused and continued to lift her BMW on to the truck, Ms Ricketts, who works as a public protection and safety officer for another London council, took matters into her own hands.

“We had a very civilised conversation, but I thought, I’ve had enough of this. I feel persecuted. I got in my car and said I’m not leaving.”

Ms Ricketts said that residents were sick of being treated as a “cash cow” by the Camden’s parking service, having had her car erroneously towed once before.


The protest proved successful and her car was returned

With the tow truck blocking the road for more than an hour, and with a handful of neighbours and two police officers looking on, orders were eventually received to return Ms Ricketts’ car and allow her to go to work.

The protest proved successful and the car was taken off tow truck “on safety grounds,” the council said. Ms Ricketts was instead issued a parking ticket.

“I was on my way to work and would have been out of there. Instead they created an obstruction for an over an hour,” she said.

The parking bays have been closed off for use by construction workers who are repairing flats that were gutted by fire in Dartmouth Park Hill last month. But, Ms Ricketts said it was not clear which parking spaces were still available.

She has taken the day off work, she said, after taking a blood pressure reading and finding it was “the highest it’s been in a long time”.

She added: “I think Camden should know the cost of their actions on people’s lives.”

Camden Council said in a statement: “The council requests that, for their own safety, residents in this situation do not climb into their vehicle whilst it is on the removal vehicle.

“These parking bays were suspended so that building work could take place following the fire at Dartmouth Park Hill. Signs have been in place telling of that suspension since late June.

“The resident in question received a penalty charge notice (PCN) for parking in the bay.
Parking in a suspended bay is a priority 1 contravention and this can lead to removal of the vehicle following the issue of a PCN.”

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