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Parking vigilante who targeted Islington council hangs up his cape

PUBLISHED: 15:40 25 August 2014

The Black Beret protesting outside  Islington Town Hall

The Black Beret protesting outside Islington Town Hall

Dieter Perry

A masked crusader who spent years fighting for downtrodden motorists is finally hanging up his cape.

The Black Beret, whose real identity remains shrouded in mystery, is calling time on a superhero career that has seen him tackle Islington Council, the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) and even appear on television.

But now Le Beret Noir, as he was also known while representing more than 50 motorists with an 80 per cent success rate, has decided to move on to pastures new.

He said: “I invented the caped campaigner to protect the interests of those I represent while exposing the inadequacies of the parking enforcement system, particularly PATAS.

“Since appearing on Parking Mad this year it’s been hard to reconcile these two roles and so I’ve decided to hang up my cape.

“But the main reason is the arbitrary nature of the PATAS – there is no consistency among the 40 adjudicators and this cannot be fair, just or right.

“I have serious concerns about the role of the chief adjudicator. In my view, the position should be removed and legislation should ensure a root to branch review of PATAS. Complaints against adjudicators’ conduct are routinely whitewashed.

Success

“My decision does not signify the end of my campaign and I note that another Black Beret has appeared recently, a taller and slimmer model. I wish him well for the future.

“I have enjoyed my time representing all those at PATAS and regard you all as friends. Au revoir.”

From taking on the town hall over the Drayton Park fiasco – in which they agreed to refund nearly 11,000 tickets, potentially worth £1.4million, issued at the Highbury road layout – to haranguing them over £40million they pocketed in Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), which were allegedly missing wording which one adjudicator ruled amounted to “procedural impropriety”. Another adjudicator later overturned this on appeal.

He later turned his fierce attention to PATAS, in Angel Mews, Islington, where he fought the corner of drivers with no voice, eventually appearing on BBC show Parking Mad.

But does the vigilante have any fond memories from his illustrious career?

“I should wish to highlight my success against Islington Council and the way I exposed some issues on Waltham Forest Council’s moving traffic tickets. Like many people I just want to see councils getting it right and acting fairly.”

A spokesman for London Councils, which represent PATAS, said: “PATAS is a highly-regarded, independent appeals service for Londoners, which aims to ensure all appeals are handled fairly, efficiently and transparently.”

Islington Council declined to comment.

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