Driver caught after dodging parking fines for five years

29 September 2015 in Community safety
A cameraman who avoided paying more than £6,000 in parking and driving fines in Newham over five years, has been given a suspended jail sentence for committing fraud.
Philip Tunnicliffe, 59, of Linfield Road, Stoke On Trent, who also has a property in Capel Road, Forest Gate, clocked up 69 fines from Newham Council between March 2010 and December 2014 for parking on pavements, yellow lines, driving in bus lanes and ignoring no entry signs.

However, the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority were unable to identify the owner of the car and the £6,079 of fines remained unpaid.

He was only traced when the case was handed over to police officers in the council’s Enforcement Partnership Team who used insurance records to track him down. Their investigation found that on five occasions the Volkswagen Passat’s licence plate had been altered so that the F read an E. They also found that Tunnicliffe had used a false address to insure his vehicle to obtain cheaper car insurance.

On September 2, 2015, Tunnicliffe pleaded guilty to fraudulently using a registration mark and making a false statement to obtain insurance at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

He was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months for both counts. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service, pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge of £80.

However the council is unable to recover the £6,079 Tunnicliffe owes for the 69 PCNs as the statutory time limit for prosecutions has passed.

Councillor Ken Clark, cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, planning and regeneration, said: “For years Tunnicliffe has thought he was above the law, and I’m pleased that finally some justice has caught up with him. His inconsiderate parking and illegal driving could have put people’s lives at risk and it is frustrating that the five years he has been dodging fines has not been recognised in this sentence.

“However, this prosecution is a prime example of why our partnership work with the police is invaluable to our residents. Without their intervention Tunnicliffe would never have been caught and charged with fraud and he now has a criminal record. We may not have been able to pin him down for his previous behaviour, but we now know where he is, and he won’t be able to get away with it any more.”

Inspector Phil Stinger, head of the Enforcement Partnership Team, said: “Tunnicliffe thought he could get away without paying the fines, and even committed fraud to further maximise his chances. But he underestimated the determination of the council and the local police force to track down those who are inconsiderate and a danger on the roads. Now he has been convicted and if he doesn’t change his ways he could find himself behind bars.”