Have you ever received one of these?

Receiving a parking fine is something that most motorists have faced at some point – with many often baffled as to why they were issued in the first instance.

Now an entrepreneurial student has set up a not-for-profit parking ticket appeal website which allows drivers to automatically fight fines within seconds. Aptly named donotpay.co.uk the service aims to challenge parking tickets with the ultimate goal of having councils rescind them.

Founder Joshua Browder became fed up after being hit with numerous parking fines and since its launch in 2015 the website has had over 120,000 visitors.

"I originally set it up for friends but the response has been phenomenal," Joshua said.

"I've had emails from a pensioner who had a scratch on their permit and small businesses who were fined because the council didn't understand loading restrictions."

Motorists pick one of 12 defences with which to contest their ticket, including "the vehicle has diplomatic immunity", "I was travelling to hospital urgently" and "there are missing details on the PCN (ticket)".

As part of the service, the website automatically uploads pictures of unclear or confusing road markings gathered from Google Maps.

"Many motorists leave the scene of their parking ticket without taking photos of the road markings. In light of this, the website will now include photos of the street to support relevant claims," the computer science student said. "Councils issue tickets first and ask questions later," he added.

The RAC Foundation said councils in the UK made a £667 million surplus from their parking operations in 2014 – marking a 12 per cent increase on the previous financial year and the fifth year in a row of rises. Motorists in London paid the biggest portion of the money for parking, with the capital accounting for 44 per cent of the total surplus generated over the last year.

“The website is completely free, regardless of whether motorists win their appeal. I hope that it will disintermediate services that charge half the cost of the ticket for a manual appeal.” added Joshua.

By Tracey McBain