The C-Charge in this case stands for "Crazy Charge" and while there is moaning about the current £8.00 fee from drivers sitting in traffic jams across the city (especially in the west this week...), spare a thought for the poor chap who had to pay a hefty £150.00, for taking his little car out for a spin somewhere very definitely outside the C-Charge zone.
John Greenhill was out driving his wee four-wheeler in Epping Forest when the fine quite literally leaped on him from nowhere. By little car, we mean very little. It was a toy car. He got fined for driving his petrol-powered, remote control car in an open field in Epping Forest
. And by a £150.00 fine leaping on him out of nowhere, we mean that forest keeper Nick Baker sped towards Mr Greenhill in his forest keeper jeep and jumped out to reprimand the model car driver for disturbing the peace.
According to Mr Greenhill, the forest keeper was reacting to his model car as if "I had an old lady on the floor and was ripping her apart." How Mr Baker heard Mr Greenhill's remote control car disturbing the peace over the sound of his jeep at full speed is a mystery. Mr Baker said: "Model cars can travel at high speed and are extremely noisy, that goes against what the forest is here for and what is to be protected. If someone comes for a nice quiet walk in the countyside, they do not want to be disturbed by a noisy model car. " Or a jeep.
But one chap was breaking the 1878 Epping Forest Act and the other was enforcing it. The enforcer won and the 28 year old mechanic had to pay £150.00 for his remote controlled indiscretion. The case was heard at Harlow Court and the defendant's mode of transport that day is unconfirmed. Mr Greenhill has since condemned the fine and court case as a joke; we're sure he would have preferred a joke with a slightly less expensive punchline, at his expense. Let's hope Ken Livingstone doesn't get a inspired by this story, otherwise rollerbladers and skateboarders in our London parks might have a nasty shock next time they freewheel across the grass...