A mum has been left ‘disgusted’ after she was reportedly issued with a penalty charge notice as her disabled child fell suddenly ill.
Gemma Leary, 36, from Liverpool, brought her family for a two-night-stay in Blackpool at the end of May where she and husband John Leary, 39 took their 10-year-old twin boys to Sandcastle Water Park.
The twins, Lewis and Ryan, both have autism and Ryan also has type one diabetes meaning he has to wear a pump on his stomach that connects to a cannula providing insulin.
When arriving at the park, the parents said they decided to pay for a full day knowing that his pump would usually have to be replaced multiple times when going swimming.
Throughout the day, Gemma drove Ryan back and forth from the water park to their hotel to change his pump but on their last trip back, when the family were getting ready to leave, Ryan started feeling low due to low blood sugar levels.
Gemma said: “I would normally have walked (to the hotel) but because he’s diabetic, if he walks, he drops really fast.
“I thought it would be easier to have a base for the day and go back and forth hence why i paid for the full day instead of taking the three hours free disabled parking.”
During her rush to help Ryan during a hypoglycaemic shock, Gemma parked back in the disabled bay she had been in the whole day but said she had not been able to pick up her blue badge which fell into the foot well of her car.
Within minutes of leaving the car, a traffic warden arrived and issued Gemma with a PCN despite Gemma reportedly explaining her situation and showing the warden her badge.
Gemma said: “I said sorry my son’s just been having a hypo, I’ll get it for you so I got it for her and showed her, she checked it and checked if the right person was on it.
“She said to me I’ll take a picture of it and note it but I’ve already issued it so you’re going to have to challenge it.”
After speaking with the warden, Gemma said she was sure that challenging this penalty wouldn’t be an issue, but in doing so, claims she has found it to be the complete opposite.
“It was hard work and no one gets back to you at all,” she said “I eventually got an email saying they know that the lady has seen the valid badge but they’re not willing to overturn it which I think is disgusting, absolutely disgusting.
“I understand that you’ve got to put your blue badge on display which I had done throughout the day because I’m sure that the wardens would have been around all day, it was just unfortunate that it fell.”
When providing evidence towards appealing the PCN, Gemma had included images of her ticket for the day, her blue badge and images from her son’s glucose tracker, proving he had suffered a hypoglycemic shock.
Despite this the council then contacted Gemma to ask her to repay the reduced fine of £35 from £70.
A letter from the council, seen by LancsLive, says: “I am writing to confirm that I have received your challenge in relation to the above Penalty Charge Notice. After careful consideration of the circumstances, unfortunately it has been decided the reasons given are not grounds for the cancellation of the charge.
“In this instance, the PCN was correctly issued. The civil enforcement officer observed your vehicle parking in a designated disabled bay without a disabled blue badge and time clock clearly displayed in the vehicle.
“Disabled bays are for the sole use of disabled badge holders to enable easy access to local facilities. For the disabled concession to apply, it is essential (and a legal requirement) that the badge is displayed so that all the details on the front of the badge (the side with the hologram) and the time clock set to display the time of arrival (if required), are clearly visible from the outside of the vehicle in accordance with the blue badge scheme handbook.
“Although you showed the disabled badge to the officer who has confirmed that the badge holder was present, unless the badge is displayed at the time of parking a concession cannot be given.”
A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “Although the penalty charge notice was issued correctly at the time we understand that circumstances led to the valid blue badge not being on display and the notice will be cancelled.”