Driver stays in car on tow truck in ‘cash cow’ parking protest
03 August, 2018 — By William McLennan
Debbie Ricketts sitting inside her car after it was lifted onto the tow truck
POLICE were called after a motorist refused to leave her car when it was hoisted onto the back of a tow truck on Monday.
Debbie Ricketts launched the successful one-woman protest when she discovered that parking wardens were in the process of removing her car from Doynton Street in Archway.
“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 onto 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’.” She said that residents were sick of being treated as a “cash cow” by the parking service run by Camden Council – the road is just across the Islington and Camden border – having had her car erroneously towed once before.
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 car was taken off the tow truck “on safety grounds”, the council said. Ms Ricketts was instead issued with a parking ticket.
The street’s 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. Ms Ricketts said it was not clear which parking spaces were still available.
Camden Council said in a statement: “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. 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.”