Dwight has had to shut down his business over the blunder (Picture: Dwight Henry/SWNS)

A mistakenly-issued parking ticket has cost a construction worker his business – and forced him to lay off 10 staff.

Dwight Henry received a PCN in April for parking his van in a suspended parking spot – despite leaving the space five minutes before it became unavailab.e

The £65 ticket was ripped up by the parking officer, but nearly six months later bailiffs demanded payment.

His work van was seized, and even though Hackney council has apologised, cancelled the fine and returned his van, Dwight was unable to earn for months and has had to shut down his business – Phoenix Construction East London Ltd.

He lost out on £45,000 worth of contracts and has been forced to let his 10 staff go, as his work tools were locked up in the seized van.

Dwight, a 45-year-old dad of five who lives in Lower Clapton, north east London, is now looking for work and has called on the council to pay out compensation.

He said: ‘It has ruined my life. The council have never reached out to me to say “let’s try and make amends”.

‘I had to lay everyone off. I am pretty much out of business.

Dwight has been working in construction for his entire life (Picture: Dwight Henry/SWNS)

‘Construction for me is over. 30 years. All my life it’s all I’ve known… Since I was 16 years old.’

Dwight approached his van on the morning of April 5 and found a parking attendant issuing him with a ticket at 7:55am – five minutes before the bay he’d parked in became suspended.

After the construction company owner pointed out his mistake, Mr Henry says it was agreed that the fine should be cancelled and the £65 parking ticket ripped up.

But five months later he was shocked to receive a letter from bailiffs Newlyn Plc, saying they had been passed a debt of more than £200 for the ticket.

Then, despite beginning the process of challenging the fine with the Traffic Enforcement Centre, his van was clamped and seized by ‘aggressive’ bailiffs at the end of October and he was told his debt had increased to £1,300.

He said: ‘I’ve been looking for delivery jobs. I usually take jobs three or four months in advance, but the council took that away from me. I have no jobs to sustain me for the winter.

‘This PCN is not legal. It can’t be legal because it was issued before the time of the contravention hours.

‘I haven’t earned a penny from October 23 to this present day. I haven’t been able to work – I’ve had no tools, no transportation.

‘Bear in mind I’m paying for insurance for this van, I’m paying tax and MOT. I’ve just lost three contracts for £45,000 because of this situation.

‘No one wants to review the evidence because if they review the evidence they will see I did not park illegally. No one is listening to me.’

Despite the fine now having been cancelled and his van having been returned to him earlier this week, the business owner says that having been unable to arrange new contracts for the winter means he will now be forced to close his business.

Dwight also said if a council worker he had spoken to over the phone on October 23 had bothered to review his case, he might not be in the dire situation he now finds himself in.

He said: I’m past furious. The stress this brought on me is a different level. The bailiffs were so aggressive it was unbelievable. It was an abuse of power.

‘I think the council should pay me back what I have lost and compensate me for the stress and damage they have caused. The council should take full responsibility for the negligence.

‘But I’m not rich enough to hire a big-time lawyer or anything. The council already destroyed my life.

‘The council officers are still in their jobs, getting paid… But what about my kids, my family? What about the guys I’ve had to lay off, permanently?

‘The council don’t take responsibility for their actions. It’s not fair; a man shouldn’t lose their livelihood because of what happened.

“I can’t say what they should give me, but they should compensate me. I am seeking justice. It’s embarrassing. How can I tell someone “I lost my van because the council took it over a parking ticket for £65?”

‘It sounds like I’m broke… It’s the implication. It’s embarrassing what they have done to me. They’ve embarrassed me in my profession and left me in financial ruin.’

Dwight was forced to shut his previous construction business during the pandemic, and was in the process of rebuilding when the incorrectly-issued parking ticket was handed out in April.

Despite apologising and confirming the PCN was issued incorrectly, Hackney council claim they wrote to him three times before bailiffs became involved, which included details of how to challenge the ticket.

The council say they did not receive a response, which is why the PCN was escalated.

They say they also received a phone call from the enforcement agent in September saying they had spoken to Mr Henry who had confirmed he’d received correspondence from Hackney council before the PCN was registered as a debt.

A spokesperson for Hackney council said: ‘More than a month passed between Mr Henry speaking to the enforcement agent on September 18 and the vehicle being impounded on October 23, when Mr Henry had the opportunity to resolve the case.

‘We’d urge Mr Henry to contact us if he would like us to review his case.

‘We’ve reviewed this case and found that the PCN was issued three minutes before the parking suspension began. This should have been cancelled and we apologise to Mr Henry for the inconvenience this has caused him.’

Hackney Council did not comment on whether it planned to compensate Dwight or not.

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