A dad-of-two has been landed with hundreds of pounds worth of bus lane fines – despite being nine thousand miles away in Australia at the time.
Philip Cross, from Childwall, is locked in a ten-month legal battle with Manchester City Council after they handed him five fines for driving in bus lanes – on a car he no longer owned.
He says the dispute has turned his life upside down as he spoke out against the “ridiculous” decision.
He told the ECHO: “I’m going to have to fork out all this money, and I just haven’t got it.”
Mr Cross, 33, has already been forced to pay more than £1,000 in fines and legal bills, and is being challenged for another £600.
The self-employed barber swapped his silver BMW at a Liverpool dealership in 2016 in a ‘part exchange’, an increasingly popular way of swapping your car for a different model.
It was later sold to a new owner.
He says he sent a form to the DVLA at the time telling them he was no longer the car’s owner, but the DVLA say they didn’t receive it until the following year.
Mr Cross eventually learned that the car’s new owner had racked up a fortune in bus lane fines, which he was expected to pay.
He says he was actually on a family holiday in Australia with his wife and two kids when some of the fines were incurred.
Mr Cross says he has devoted much of the last ten months to digging up evidence – including sales receipts, travel tickets, and car insurance statements – to prove he had already sold the car.
But Manchester City Council still claim he has failed to give “adequate evidence” he was no longer the car’s owner.
He even contacted Google after he found a photo online of his old car being advertised at a car dealership.
He said: “This is how in-depth I’ve gone to try and prove my innocence, but nobody seems to want to listen.
“The amount of work I’ve put in clearly shows I’m innocent.”
It culminated in a court bailiff turning up at his house and threatening to remove his possessions unless he paid up.
He added: “I don’t know who to complain to. The council isn’t listening, the courts aren’t listening, the DVLA weren’t listening. I’m literally just throwing money away.
“Rich people can pay all this to get it sorted, and they know people. Normal, working-class people haven’t got a chance. It really is ridiculous.”
He has also turned to his local MP, Luciana Berger, for help.
A Manchester City Council spokesman told The ECHO: “The council was notified by the DVLA that Mr Cross was the registered keeper of the vehicle at the time of the offences and he has failed to provide adequate evidence that this was not the case.”
The DVLA said they did not receive a change-of-ownership notice until May 2017.
It is now a matter between Mr Cross and the council, they said.