England

Combine harvester given bus lane fines in council gaffe

Combine harvester Image copyright Roger Oates
Image caption Mr Oates said his 25ft wide combine had been mistaken for a silver family-sized car

A farmer has been slapped with two fines for driving his combine harvester in a bus lane - after officials mistook it for a family car.

Puzzled Roger Oates received two letters from Hull City Council alleging he had driven the 25ft-wide machine on the city's roads.

They also included "photographic evidence" of the offences - showing a saloon with a similar registration.

The council has apologised and said the notice was issued in error.

'Bright red machine'

Mr Oates, from Thorney, near Lincoln, said he has not visited Hull for at least 50 years, and on the date of the second offence was abroad on holiday.

He said: "The registration number of the vehicle concerned belongs to my Massey Ferguson combine harvester.

"The photo of the vehicle is a family-sized silver car and clearly not a bright red agricultural machine."

Image copyright Hull City Council
Image caption The authority sent this picture of the offending vehicle to Mr Oates after mistaking the registration for that of his combine

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He said on the first occasion he had to write and appeal, providing photographic evidence of his combine's number plate, and was "let off after due consideration".

The latest incident took place on Anlaby Road in Hull on 24 December 2016.

Image caption Mr Oates said while it is quite amusing, it is irritating having to prove his innocence, especially when his 25ft wide combine would not even fit in a bus lane

The two vehicles have very similar registration numbers, and Mr Oates said the council had probably mistaken a Y for a V, and have now made the same mistake again.

"While it is quite amusing, it is also irritating having to waste time proving my innocence while someone driving a silver Citroen in Hull thinks it is OK to drive in a bus lane," he added.

In a statement, Hull City Council said it has written to Mr Oates to tell him the notice has been cancelled.

"We would like to apologise for the inconvenience," it said.

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