A motorist has been fined for defrosting his car outside his home because he left it unattended with the engine running. Ken Hardman was given a £30 fixed penalty notice for leaving his engine on to warm up his car during the cold snap in the morning.
He was prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act offence of 'quitting' which is when a person leaves their vehicle's engine running while they are not in it. The 45-year-old was visited by a police officer as part of Operation Cold Start which targets residential areas of Chorley and Leyland in Lancashire where car thieves are operating.
Mr Hardman, of Whittle-le-Woods, says thieves had no way of stealing his silver Mercedes saloon because the windows and doors can be locked while the engine is running.
He said: "I heard a knock on the door at 8.20am and the officer asked me whether the car outside was mine and said that, if it was, I was committing a crime. I think it's completely outrageous because the car has a function on the automatic key which means the windows and doors can be locked while the engine is running. It's not possible to defrost your car and sit inside it because it's too cold and I think they don't take that into consideration. This fine means that I'm paying stealth charges even though my car was secured and locked. There was no way of stealing it. I pay council tax and a lot of it goes towards policing so it's a complete and utter disgrace to have to pay for defrosting the car, which is a company car. I feel like I haven't been dealing with the police force but with a police farce."
During Operation Cold Start officers have been taking the keys out of unattended cars and giving crime prevention advice to car owners.