Chiswell Green gardener issued fine for driving in bus lane in car he no longer owned

LAW-abiding head gardener Andy Godly has found himself in a Catch 22 situation after being accused of driving in a bus lane in a car which was no longer his.

Andy, 46, who has been head gardener at the Gardens of the Rose in Chiswell Green for the past few years, gave away the Nissan Micra which had been sitting on his drive at his home in Dunstable last October.

The following day he notified the DVLA about the change of ownership – and thought no more about it.

But shortly afterwards he received a letter from Luton borough council saying he had driven through a bus lane in Bury Park.

Andy contacted the council to say he was no longer the owner and that if they contacted the DVLA, they would give them the name of the new owner – which they refused to do saying it was not a requirement for them.

When he found he was still being pursued for the fine, Andy appealed to a traffic penalty tribunal which ruled against him, saying it was his responsibility to give them the details of the new owner.

But he had already contacted the DVLA himself and was told to get the council to write to them and they would be given the details of the new owner.

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The council subsequently obtained a county court order against Andy and since earlier this year, he has been threatened with bailiffs entering his home and taking his property in lieu of a fine he did not incur.

Andy, who previously lived in Redbourn and Wheathampstead, said this week: “It is a stupid Catch 22 situation which is like something out of Yes Minister.”

He pointed out that had if it been a speeding offence, he could have gone to court over the issue but it would not have been necessary because the police would have checked with the DVLA.

He went on: “I thought you were innocent until proved guilty not guilty until proved innocent.”

South Beds MP Andrew Selous has taken up Andy’s case and has now obtained a letter from the DVLA confirming that he had notified them immediately that he was no longer the owner after the car changed hands.

But Andy is still worried that until the county court order is lifted, he could still come home to find bailiffs taking his property.

He added: “The council’s attitude is that once you have been through their appeals procedure that is it. It is in black and white that they are right and you are wrong.”

Luton borough council was unmoved this week by Mr Selous obtaining confirmation from the DVLA that Andy had notified them about the change of ownership by the time the offence happened.

They maintained that as he had not provided any evidence at the time of the tribunal, the independent adjudicator’s decision was final and the only route left to Andy was a judicial review of the evidence presented to the tribunal.

A statement from the council added: “There is nothing more the council can do and Mr Godly remains liable to pay the Penalty Charge Notice.”