The drainage engineer was taking daughter Marha to the aquarium at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth when he parked at 11.02am but did not purchase a ticket until 11.21am. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

London - When Simon Baker drove into a car park with his six-month-old daughter he got the unmistakable message that she needed her nappy changing.

Confronted by the choice of tending to little Marha immediately or paying for a ticket first, he naturally chose the former.

It was to cause a 19-minute delay that would land him with a £100 (about R1 800) fine and take two years to be quashed.

The drainage engineer, from Looe in Cornwall, was taking daughter Marha to the aquarium at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth when he parked at 11.02am but did not purchase a ticket until 11.21am.

Baker – who also has a nine-year-old daughter Olivia with wife Aimee, 32 – was issued with a penalty charge by Britannia Parking for taking too long to purchase a ticket.

He refused to pay and Britannia took Baker to court where he launched his own counter-claim.

District Judge Jonathan Stone ruled in favour of the 36-year-old father following a hearing at Bodmin County Court. A solicitor representing Britannia told the court that Baker had taken an "unreasonable period of time" to buy a ticket during the incident in 2017, adding that he had also refused to engage with the firm.

They said the onus was on Baker to be aware of the parking terms and conditions, and that he was bound by the terms on signs in the car park.

But Judge Stone said neither the signs nor the small print made it "sufficiently clear" that "the time started to run the moment [the customer] entered the car park". Speaking outside the court, Baker said he was "over the moon", even though he is now £180 out-of-pocket for pursuing the counter-claim – which was also dismissed.

He added: "I could have just paid the ticket but that’s not the point. What’s an acceptable time to buy a ticket? I could have been in a wheelchair."

Daily Mail