Driver in two-year battle against ‘bully boy’ parking firm finally gets payout

Martin Anderson, 65, took on the firm and successfully fought off the court claim against him after being fined £100 for parking in a pub car park in Northamptonshire.

Martin Anderson got a ticket at the Cardigan Arms pub in Corby. (SWNS)
Martin Anderson spent two years battling a parking ticket he received at a pub. (SWNS)

A motorist has won a two-year battle against a car park enforcement firm after being wrongly fined - and persuaded a judge to award him a payout instead.


The volunteer litter picker had pulled up at the Cardigan Arms in Corby Old Village, Northamptonshire, to collect some rubbish in March 2022.

The pub acts as a collection point for the "Corby Wombles" and while Anderson was picking up some litter bags, he stopped for a pint.

However, he was given a fine despite the landlord having an open agreement that the group can use the ANPR-controlled car park for its work.

Anderson appealed the fine on the basis he had permission to park there but Civil Enforcement Ltd, which manages the pub's car park, refused to back down.

The father-of-two's appeal was rejected despite the pub landlord also offering to help him get the charge overturned.

He claimed the firm then threatened him with county court judgements (CCJs), bailiffs and court action while the price of the fine also rose to £277.65 to include fees and costs.

Anderson, a retired principal building control officer for Bedford Council, said: "I had two or three letters from different debt collection companies.

Martin Anderson outside the court. (SWNS)
Martin Anderson outside the court. (SWNS)

"They just try to bully and manipulate you.

"They threaten you with CCJs, and I’m a landlord with several different mortgages so that could have some serious consequences for me.

"[But] I don’t like being bullied and I didn’t want to stand for it. I was just enraged by it, I was just going for bin bags and I was invited there by the landlord.

“I just said 'I’m not paying, take me to court'. I never thought they would. I thought they’d think it was ridiculous.”

The firm argued he should have entered his registration details at the bar to register his vehicle - but there were no signs in the car park to inform Anderson of this.

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He stood his ground and decided to represent himself in court last week for the "David v Goliath" battle against an advocate for Civil Enforcement Ltd.

After a two-hour hearing at Northampton County Court, the case against him was dismissed and district judge Nicholas Glassbrook awarded Anderson £100 in expenses against the company.

The judge said there were inaccuracies in the firm’s witness statement which said that signage made clear that customers had to validate their parking - but it did not.

Martin Anderson next to his car. (SWNS)
Martin Anderson next to his car. (SWNS)

Anderson, of Corby, said: "I’m glad that I won but I’d asked for more money to cover the incredible amount of time I’d put into this.

"They pursued me for two years, bullied me, and stressed me out.

"They wasted the court's time and my time. What's £100 for two years of grief? It’s laughable."

The process was so time-intensive that he said it was even a factor in him deciding to retire from his day job.

"It’s quite a job to take on the parking bully boys. I would not recommend anyone go through this. The government need to reintroduce the private parking code of practice. We need people to kick up a stink to get this legislation implemented."

Civil Enforcement Limited has been contacted for comment.

As per Citizens Advice, "how to appeal depends on the type of parking ticket you have". Most fines will be one of:

  • a penalty charge notice (PCN) or an excess charge notice (ECN): usually issued by a council on public land such as a high street

  • a parking charge notice: issued by a landowner or parking company on private land, such as a pub car park

  • a fixed penalty notice: issued by police on red routes, white zig zags or where police manage parking

These come with different routes to appealing, with further information available on the Citizens Advice website.

As a general rule, however, it's always a good idea for motorists who believe they have been wronged to take photos, for example to show there were no road markings to indicate parking restrictions, or that a sign was misleading.

It's key to not immediately pay the fine if appealing: this will be seen as an admission that the ticket was issued correctly.