In Depth

Man fined for pulling over to help rough sleeper on Christmas Day

Volunteer given £70 fine for parking in a bus stop - even though no buses were running

A man who stopped his car to help a homeless person on Christmas Day was fined for parking at a bus stop.

Former soldier Lee Williamson, 43, noticed the man as he drove by Leicester railway station on Christmas morning.

The father-of-three, who volunteers with a charity which helps homeless ex-service personnel and other rough sleepers, pulled over to the side of the road to offer the man some of the supplies in his car.

“I pulled up and gave him some hats, gloves, scarves and food,” he told the Leicester Mercury. “He was absolutely over the moon.”

“I spoke to him for a bit and when I left I didn’t think any more of it,” he said. However, on 3 January Williamson received a penalty notice from Leicester City Council, fining him £70 for pulling over at a bus stop.

Like most UK bus companies, First Bus Leicester did not run a service on Christmas Day.

Williamson emailed the council to explain the situation, but on 30 January they refused his appeal.

“While buses may not be operating on Christmas Day, there is every likelihood that cyclists and other traffic will be using this stretch of road and stopping illegally in this area should still be considered dangerous,” city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby told the BBC yesterday.

However, the council has now backed down. Earlier this morning, Soulsby tweeted that he had intervened to overturn the penalty notice.

CCTV was installed overlooking the bus stop following a fatal accident in 2016, in which a cyclist fell into the path of a van and killed after being knocked off his bike by the passenger door of a taxi illegally parked in the space. 

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