A WOMAN has been threatened by bailiffs for an unpaid parking ticket, after she had to abandon her car in heavy snow. 

Sharon Olliver, 63, said she couldn’t get her car up the hill to the garage where she normally parks in Tilehurst, after heavy snowfall in early February. 

Reading Borough Council had not gritted Sanctuary Close, off Norcot Road, Ms Olliver said. 

So after working a night shift stacking shelves at Sainsbury’s, she couldn’t get any traction, kept sliding backwards and had to leave her car at the bottom of the close. 

But because hidden underneath the snow were double yellow lines, Ms Olliver later received a parking ticket for £35.

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She said the cost of the ticket has ‘gone up and down like a fiddler’s elbow’: starting at £35, then going up to £70, then £105, then back down to £35 if she paid within five days.

Ms Olliver said she struggled to pay, due to being on a very low income. She used to be a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, but gave up her career to care for her dying mother. 

After she died, the cost of training to get back into nursing was too much, so she got a job at Sainsbury’s in Calcot.

Ms Olliver says despite appealing the ticket, she has done all she can to pay off the fine and sent numerous cheques to the council since.

But the council has referred the issue to bailiffs, who want £384 and have sent her a letter saying if she doesn’t pay, they will try to take her car. 

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She said: “This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m gobsmacked. It beggars belief.

“I finished work on the early hours of Sunday morning. Sadly, I couldn’t get my car up the road, so I had to leave it. They’ve gone bananas. I can’t believe this, all for a one-off £35 parking ticket.”

Ms Olliver went into hospital last week for surgery on her shoulder, and will be out of work for six weeks. She said: “I’m really stuck. I’m incredibly frugal. What can I do?” 

The letter from the bailiffs said she could face imprisonment if they can’t recover the debt. 

A council spokeswoman said: “The council follows a statutory process for any motorist who has received a penalty charge notice (PCN). We provide clear guidance on how to challenge our PCNs within our correspondence at each stage of the statutory process. 

“Where the process of appeal is followed it is ultimately considered and resolved by an independent adjudicator.  

“The appeal process is designed to protect both the recipient of a PCN and the issuing authority and ensure the statutory obligations of all parties is properly followed.

“If any person feels they have mitigating circumstances, we will consider, as will the adjudicator, each case on its own merits based on the evidence available.”