A ROWER is refusing to pay a parking fine after falling victim to an overnight change in the restrictions on a Henley street.
Will Reincke, 25, was caught out on the first day of Henley Royal Regatta where he was representing Upper Thames Rowing Club as the stroke of its “B” eight.
He parked his Audi legally in Deanfield Avenue on Tuesday, July 2, the evening before his race, but when he returned to it at about 4pm the next day he found a fixed penalty notice stuck on the windscreen.
This was because “No waiting” cones had been placed in the street since he had parked there.
Mr Reincke, of Greys Road, Henley, appealed against the £30 fine to the police, who are responsible for parking enforcement in Henley, but has now received a reply saying the penalty will stand.
He said: “I don’t want to pay that much money for something that I didn’t consciously do. It’s only £30, but it’s the principle.
“You can park on double yellow lines and know you are doing something wrong but I parked there when it was okay and am accused of something I haven’t done.
“What angers me is how the rules can be changed while you are already parked there so you get slapped with a ticket. It’s like reducing the speed limit on a road and then issuing speeding fines to everyone who drove on it the previous day.”
The letter dimissing his appeal was sent by Bryan Pritchard, manager of Thames Valley Police’s fixed penalty support unit, and says the fact a fine was issued “indicates to me that the officer had cause to believe an offence had been committed”.
Mr Reincke, who parked in Deanfield Avenue because the two spaces outside his house were taken by his flatmates, said he noticed that at least two other vehicles had also been given penalty notices.
He said: “On face value, if the officer saw the cars parked where the cones were he might think an offence has been committed but how would he know there weren’t any cones there when I parked?
“You would think that with the regatta on there would be some sort of change in the town but I didn’t realise it would affect residents — I’ve only lived here for less than a year.
“There may have been a sign but I couldn’t see anything telling me about the restrictions. There were a lot of cars parked there at the time.
“Perhaps the houses in that road got notes through their doors informing them of the changes.”
Mr Reincke, a marketing executive at the Henley Business School, has been given 28 days to pay the fine before it increases to £45. Alternatively, he can appeal to a magistrate.
But he said: “I don’t want to go to court for the sake of £30. The cost of doing that is ridiculous and would be more than the fine, with only a 50 per cent chance of winning.
“I don’t know what my options are but I’m extremely unwilling to pay. I’m interested to know whether there are others in a similar position to me.”
Thames Valley Police said it would be inappropriate to comment while legal proceedings were active.
* Mr Reincke’s crew lost their heat in the Thames Cup to eventual winners Griffen Boat Club.