Commuter decorates living room with daily penalty notices he received in Dartford Crossing mix-up

The DJ says over 100 of the penalty notices kept arriving one after the other in the post Credit: ITV News Meridian

A man who was fined for not paying to use the Dartford Crossing despite having an account has covered his entire living room floor with over 100 penalty letters.

Paul Kelly from Essex says he's received 151 Dart Charge fines in total.

The crossing was part of his daily commute from Rayleigh to Kent nearly every day last year while he worked as a DJ.

Despite having a registered account, his vehicle was triggering fines for not paying the fee incurred when using the connection between Essex and Kent.

Paul has covered his living room floor in penalty notices he says have been wrongfully issued

He says he has been in communication with National Highways but is worried about the fines looming over him.

Paul renewed his account when he was told to last July, however he started getting daily fines in January 2024.

Since then, he has appealed the fines and was eventually told to just pay the fees.

He says the stress he was under for three months was 'unbearable' as the fines would have cost him around £5,000, or £10,000 if he didn't pay straight away.

  • Paul says he didn't realise what had happened until the fines starting arriving in the post

Paul isn't alone. Terri Wilson and her husband have told ITV News Meridian they have pre-paid accounts, but have been fined 12 times. She has been told by Dart Charge she will get the money back for eight of those fines.

A National Highways spokesperson said: "In November, Mr Kelly was given the opportunity to settle all his outstanding crossings at the normal crossing rate for his account.

"As no payment was received, Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued. Gary Lartice's vehicle was removed from the account by a web user on 5/12/2023, leading to unpaid crossings and subsequent PCNs.

"On the 13/02/2024, Emovis (UK-based enforcement provider) advised the customer to make a representation (challenge), however no mention of a refund has been discussed.

"A recent (26/03) representation has been received and will be reviewed, and if refunds are applicable, they will be paid as a result."

National Highways told ITV News the Dartford Crossing sees in excess of 150,000 crossings per day, with the vast majority of customers accessing the service successfully.

They continued: “National Highways recognises that since the introduction of the new payment system last year, some customers have experienced problems with their accounts and encountered problems contacting customer services.

We have increased staffing levels at our customer contact centre which is now answering over 99% of the on average 1,200 calls received each day.

“If customers have received fines that they feel are incorrect there is a challenge process available. If the outcome of the customers challenge is successful they will be refunded, however road user charges may still be payable.”

Dart Charge was designed to speed up journey times at one of the UK’s busiest transport gateways, getting rid of physical terminals so drivers can use the crossing without having to pay the charge at a barrier.

Drivers using the Dartford Crossing have to pay the Dart Charge in advance or by midnight the day after crossing. People can pay online or by phone, post or at retail outlets. It is free to use the crossing from 22:00 to 06:00.

On the official government website it says: "You can get a £70 fine if you do not pay the Dart Charge.

"You must pay the fine within 28 days of receiving a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

"The fine will be:

  • reduced to £35 if you pay within 14 days

  • increased to £105 if you do not pay it

This is in addition to paying the original crossing charge."

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