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Council spy-car ticket probe.

A MERSEYSIDE council launched an inquiry after a woman won a landmark legal victory in a row over roving spy camera cars.

Rachel Johnson, 34, said councils should have to warn motorists if they planned to use "sneaky" camera cars to catch them out.

Her view was upheld by a Traffic Penalty Tribunal adjudicator who ruled spy cars should be used sparingly and overtly.

Now hundreds of motorists could be entitled to refunds on similar "spy car"spy parking tickets issued by Wirral Borough Council.

Mum-of-three Ms Johnson, who owns an off licence in New Brighton, received three separate pounds 60 fines. They were all sent through the post after she was apparently photographed by the periscope mounted Smart car.

She said: "It's disgusting the council uses such sneaky tactics to issue fines. They are operating like prowlers, lying in wait.

"These spy cameras are an appalling invasion of privacy and smack of a way to raise money."

Wirral Borough Council must now review its use of the cars.

The hearing's adjudicator ruled the cars should be used sparingly and only in areas where parking wardens cannot be used.

The hearing ruled Ms Johnson's tickets - all received in the same week - were invalid because there was no warning they were in use.

A Wirral Borough Council spokesman said: "The council has received the written report from the adjudicator.

"We are reviewing the recommendations with our legal team and are unable to comment any further until this process has been completed.

"Paying a fine is an admission of a parking contravention.

"Anyone who has received a parking ticket and feels they have a valid reason to appeal is able to do so through the appeals process detailed. Each case is reviewed on its own merits."
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 4, 2009

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