A nurse at the largest hospital in Wales has been told she must pay back around £150,000 ($196,000) in parking fines after being one of dozens of hospital staff members to lose a court ruling.
A total of 75 members of staff at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales (UHW) have been told to pay an initial £39,000 in fines accumulated since April 2016, as well as £29,000 in court costs, following a dispute with parking company Indigo.
The row began after some staff refused to pay the fines in protest at the lack of space in the hospital car park. The hospital employs more than 6,000 members of staff, but only has 1,800 spaces.
This resulted in some workers being forced to park in spots reserved for visitors, which Indigo still wanted payment for.
The court has now ruled that the hospital staff members must pay £128 for every unpaid ticket, with one nurse reported to have racked up more than 1,200 in this time period.
Barry Beavis, who acted as a lay representative for the nurses who could not afford a lawyer, told The Independent: "She said I've got about 1,200 parking charges. She said 'I get three or four a week and all I can do is written on them 'stop hassling me' and I send them back to them'.
"She pays them £1.05 a week through her permit. She says 'I pay my £1.05 to park there. I have to park there haven't? I work there so I pay to park there but they keep telling me it's the wrong car park. 1200 times £128 each.'"
Campaigners have said they have been left "broken" by the ruling. Sue Prior, who co-founded the Taff Ely Parking Action Group, said: "The judge made them all worth £128 a ticket and all enforceable. The money machine has started.
"It's horrendous. Some of them are broken. They're scared stiff, petrified, they feel sick. This affects everyone from cleaners to doctors."
She added to Wales Online: "They have permitted a private parking company to do this. There is no common sense anywhere. At the moment we just need to sit back and assess what we are going to do because it costs money to appeal. It was like David and Goliath - and David lost."
A spokesperson for Indigo said: "In April last year, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Indigo agreed a new set of measures to improve car parking on the University Hospital of Wales site.
"As a gesture of goodwill towards car park users, parking charge notices issued up to the end of March 2016 were cancelled.
"In addition, the cost of a PCN [Parking Charge Notice] was reduced to £10, if paid within 14 days. Despite this, a number of people refused to pay for parking at the site. They also ignored the resulting PCNs and declined to use the formal appeals process."
"As the company responsible for managing parking and ensuring the free flow of traffic at Cardiff UHW, we have an obligation to ensure enforcement of parking restrictions," the spokeswoman said.
"For this reason, and with the full support of the health board, we took the strongest possible action against this small group of persistent offenders.
"The court's ruling has justified our decision to take this action and we hope this sends a clear message to users of the car parks at Cardiff UHW that they follow the terms and conditions for parking."