A market trader claims he is being unfairly punished for an ‘honest mistake’ he made when parking in Totnes.

Tom Widdicombe who sells tools at the Friday market parked his van in Nursery Car Park and purchased an all day ticket using his RingGo app.

But what the 72-year-old didn’t realise was the app had picked up the adjacent Heath Way Car Park and he had bought an all day ticket for there instead.

It was an honest mistake, and one he didn’t think would matter as the cost of all day parking in both car parks is exactly the same, and all monies go to South Hams Council.

But the council has refused his appeal after “careful consideration” and fined him £25. Tom complied, but withheld the £6.70 fee he had already paid.

He said: “This is extremely annoying and also, more to the point, surely our local authorities should be there working for our benefit, not trying to make life more difficult for us at every turn.

“I made a small error when I paid for my parking ticket as my phone app picked up the name of the car park next to the one I was parked in – literally 20 metres away.

“When I returned to my van I had a parking ticket. “No worries” I thought.

“I’ve got the evidence on my phone that I have paid, this should be a formality.

“I sent the screen shot to prove that I had paid and relaxed.

“Three weeks later I got a letter saying that because I had mistakenly bought a ticket for the next door car park I had to pay the fine.

“I rang the council and explained that I had made an honest mistake, and at no point had I tried to cheat them out of any money.

“My mistake had cost them nothing, they have suffered no financial loss. Alas, there is no way out. The law is the law.”

Tom added: “The tickets aren’t transferable between car parks but I don’t see why not - why make life difficult for the residents for no reason?

“I don’t believe the council will refund me the £6.70 I paid them in error. I’m not going to pay it. I now wish I hadn’t paid them anything.”

Tom added: “When I started out car parking was included in the stall rental. The market brings thousands of people a year into Totnes, it makes a huge contribution to the town’s economy.

“Bearing this in mind, the hassle stallholders get from the traffic wardens is ridiculous.”

A council spokesperson said: “A ticket purchased for one of our car parks is not valid for use in any alternative car park.

“It is the responsibility of the car park user to ensure they purchase a ticket correctly, which includes inserting the correct location code.

“The information on each car park, including how to purchase through RingGo and the correct code to use in each car park, is clearly displayed at each site.”