A DRIVER fined £720 for a place she never visited said she felt ill as the costs piled up.
Susan Woodhead, who lives in Andover, Hampshire, received a number of fines from the Tyne Tunnel.
The transit link is 300 miles from her home and Susan has never driven there.
Despite this, TT2 Limited bombarded her with around 12 fines for “unpaid tolls” worth £60 each – and warned she would be taken to court if she didn’t pay.
Susan, 69, tells Chronicle Live She had alerted police after the first message was issued in early December, fearing she was being scammed.
“I was very concerned,” she said.
“I was wondering if it was a scam and someone was trying to get money out of me.”
Police confirmed the fine was genuine but told Susan not to worry. However, she received another one in the mail the next day.
She returned to the police station, where officers told her the license plate may have been cloned.
“Often these cars with cloned numbers are used by criminal gangs,” she said.
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“Then I got three letters from the company, all on the same day and all in different envelopes.
“They said they turned the system on, it wasn’t my car and I wasn’t going to get a fine and shouldn’t hear anything else.”
Despite this, she received fines throughout January.
After calling Tyne Tunnel directly, she was told that cameras had misread another car’s license plate due to a poorly placed screw.
The placement made the letter C appear as a G on cameras.
As a result, it appeared to be Susan’s vehicle.
TT2 has said “additional checks” are being carried out to ensure similar errors cannot recur.
“I’m not impressed by these people. Seems like they can just send stuff and you have to act on it,” Susan said.
“If you don’t do that, you could end up with a court summons or a bailiff.”
And she slammed TT2 for not being “accountable” to those it contacts with penalty notices.
Susan isn’t the only motorist mistakenly targeted by the company.
A Lancashire pensioner who had never traveled through the tunnel was fined, while a woman from Kent who had never traveled to the North East was also given a ticket.
Philip Smith, managing director of TT2, blamed an inaccurate automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) for the mix-up.
“It was overturned on appeal and we are very sorry that Ms Woodhead was bothered and upset and we have apologized to her personally,” he said.
“We have undertaken some additional checks to ensure this issue – which saw a C on Mrs Woodhead’s license plate read as a G due to bolt placement – does not recur.
“We would like to reassure tunnel users that due to the high accuracy of our ANPR system, false license plate readings are very rare and will always be corrected once a customer disputes their UTCN. That means nobody ever has to pay for our mistake.”
ANPR readings are correct “99.8 percent of the time,” while agents manually review about 5,000 readings a day, he said.
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https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8543384/fine-tyne-tunnel-hampshire-penalty-notice/ I was fined £720 for driving through the Tyne Tunnel… but I live 300 miles away and have never been there