BY CALUM FRASER
A disabled man has been fined for driving his mobility vehicle in a bus lane which he claims he was diverted into by the police.
Jamie Squirrell, pictured, has been arguing with Lewisham council officers for the past two-and-a-half months over a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) he received for driving down Lewis Grove in Lewisham.
He was diverted away from Molesworth Street by police on August 20 as they closed the road to deal with an incident “regarding a man on the roof of a building”.
Childers Street resident Mr Squirrell, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, said: “I can’t believe they’re still trying to charge me for this.
“They sent me a letter recently saying the charge had now increased to £195. I can’t work because of my condition, how am I supposed to afford this fine? “I was just doing what the police told me to do. It’s totally unfair.”
Mr Squirrell sent several letters to the council referencing the police’s CAD numbers and explained the situation as he saw it. But town hall officers believe he did not have to drive down Lewis Grove in the bus lane as he was diverted on to Lewisham High Street.
Mr Squirrell said: “I had been knocked off my course and disorientated. Surely they can have some sympathy with that? “I was quickly trying to work out how I was meant to get back round on to my route home and I ended up driving down Lewis Grove.
“I know they have their rules and regulations, but a bit of common sense would go a long way.”
A Lewisham council spokeswoman said: “We are aware that there was an incident in Molesworth Street on August 20, 2018 and the police were present. We have verified one of the CAD numbers supplied to us with the police who confirmed that the CAD number only made reference to Molesworth Street being closed.
“They were unable to confirm if there was any traffic diversion in place.
“If Molesworth Street was closed, the vehicles might have diverted into Lewisham High Street. However, there are multiple advance warning signs in Lewisham High Street warning of a priority route ahead in Lewis Grove and advising motorists to turn off either into Albion Way or Mercia Grove.
“It remains the driver’s responsibility to comply with on-street traffic directions and restriction signs.
“We advise motorists that there is a statutory process for challenging a Penalty Charge Notice which allows them to appeal to the Independent Parking Adjudicator.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Police were called at around 8pm on Monday, August 20 following reports of a concern for safety regarding a man on the roof of a building on Molesworth Street, Lewisham.
The road was closed while officers dealt with the incident. At around 11pm, the man came down from the roof and was met by officers.
“He was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.”