Mr Loophole lawyer demands council refund £1m of appalling bus lane fines

Celebrity lawyer 'Mr Loophole' has called on a council to refund thousands of fines from one bus lane camera that has raked in up to £1million as part of what he calls an 'atrocious money-making scheme'.

Top solicitor Nick Freeman, who has represented the likes of David Beckham, branded the camera an "appalling piece of road architecture" and said that it allowed Croydon Council to collect more than 7,500 fines from motorists in five years.

Martin Best, a victim caught by the camera, claimed the authority set up a trap that "punishes safe driving" after he was slapped with a £130 ticket in April.

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Mr Best discovered over 40 per cent of the borough's bus lane fines came from one camera on Wellesley Road, since 2018.

Roughly 30 drivers a week get flashed at the camera in the same time period, according to Freedom of Information Act data.

It sits between two entrances to the Whitgift shopping centre car park, where drivers have to turn left but if vehicles cross the left hand lane to park they are fined £130, or £65 if they pay quickly.

Mr Freeman runs an eponymous law firm that specialises in road traffic incidents – he has had endless celebrity clients including ex-Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson, comedian Jimmy Carr, and former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.

He said: "It’s absolutely atrocious, it’s a money-making scheme.

“Their fines should be refunded without any question and the council should hang their heads in shame.

“My view is that those monies were unfairly and unreasonably obtained.c

"The facts speak for themselves. If one camera is raising over 40% of revenue, there’s clearly a problem and the council needs to take responsibility for it.”

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Mr Best said he was "genuinely surprised" when the ticket came through the door that he visited the carpark to see what had happened.

Croydon Council dismissed the concerns, with a spokesman saying: "[Drivers] should enter from the middle lane when it is clear."

Taking up his own investigation, Mr Best filed a series Freedom of Information requests.

He learned between its installation in May 2018, and May 2023, the camera generated 7,617 fines.

In the same period 17,617 were issued across all of Croydon's bus lane camera.

Over five years, the Wellesley Road camera snapped over 43 per cent of the council's total bus lane reprimands.

“I would be advising motorists to challenge any ticket they get in that lane, on the basis that it is unfair and unreasonable," Mr Best said.

Croydon Council warned drivers must slow down to enter the shopping district.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Those wishing to turn into a car park in 24 metres would be expected to reduce their speed.

“If travelling at 30mph, they should do this as early as possible, to meet their requirement to drive with due car and attention, as is written in the Highway Code.”

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