A market trader who was fined for parking despite paying has thanked South Hams Newspapers for publishing his plight, after receiving a full refund from the district council.

Tom Widdicombe bought what he thought was an all day ticket for the Nursery Car Park in Totnes, using his RingGo app. In fact, the 72-year-old had bought a ticket for Heath Way Car Park, as without realising it his app had picked up the adjacent car park instead.

Despite the cost of parking being the same in both car parks and the money from both going to South Hams Council, Tom’s “honest mistake” cost him dearly – a £25 fine. He lost his appeal and paid the fine, minus the £6.70 fee he had already shelled out for his parking ticket.

After the story was printed, Tom received a letter from the council agreeing to cancel the parking fine and refund his part payment.

Speaking to the paper, Tom: “Thank you so much for publishing the article about the parking dispute that I have found myself in with South Hams Council. The good news is that today I have received a letter from the council telling me that my fine will be paid back to me in full.”

The council was “technically correct,” he said, adding: “However, I do believe that in court they would have struggled to justify issuing a fine to someone who has caused them no financial loss, and has not used any more space in a car park than they have paid for.”

Tom added: “A system that says, ‘Look, just pay up without making a fuss, or make a fuss and risk getting a larger fine’ is almost bribing people to accept injustice.

“Would it be possible for South Hams Council to explain how non-transferable parking tickets between car parks with identical terms, benefits the people of Totnes?”

A council spokesperson, said: “We have listened carefully to the community’s opinion of our approach to car parking enforcement. Therefore, where we have issued a penalty notice and the customer has made a genuine mistake by incorrectly selecting a location in one of our other car parks when using RingGo; providing the cost and the time period is exactly the same, then we will cancel the penalty charge notice.”