A couple were dumbfounded when they were sent a fine for parking illegally in Barnet – even though their car was parked nearly 100 miles away in Kent.

Alan and Janice Bengall, who lives in the Isle of Sheppey, were ordered to pay £60 for flouting the parking rules in Brent Street, Hendon, on June 2.

But they have never even been to Barnet and on the day they were supposedly in Hendon, Mrs Bengall drove their silver BMW to a dentist appointment in their hometown of Minster-on-Sea.

When Mr Bengall logged onto Barnet council’s online portal to view the details of the fine, he discovered the offending car was a dark blue BMW, and the number plate was one digit different to his own.

It turns out that the error occurred when a bungling traffic warden tried to fine a driver for failing to pay to park, but inputted it incorrectly.

Mr Bengall, 69, said: “It’s ludicrous, worrying and scary that nobody from the council checks their own documentation before sending out fines. My first reaction was to panic.

“There is not a cat in hell they would have taken my word against the person who put the wrong information into their system, so I am relieved they took a photograph. It’s my only proof.

“I realise it is human error but I keep going round in circles as to how bad this could have been.”

The retired father-of-two has sent countless e-mails to Barnet council’s contact us system, but is yet to receive an explanation as to how the error occurred.

He is now demanding a full apology from the authority, who have since cancelled the fine.

He added: “Their parking ticket form says you could be fined up to £5,000 for false statements – but I wish I could fine them £5,000 for their false statements.

“It could have cost me a lot of money to clear my name and stop my name from being blacklisted.

“My children have now named me Mr Miffed of Minster over this, but I am just so angry over the situation.”

Parking expert Derek Dishman, who writes a blog for the Times Series under the name Mr Mustard, said: “If Mr Bengall had done nothing he would have ended up with bailiffs knocking at his door.

“The legislation relating to parking is that you’re guilty until proven innocent which is what I hate the most.

“The fine itself is now invalid anyway, because a basic fact on it was wrong, meaning that the person whose car it belongs to doesn’t even have to pay anyway.”

Afrika Morris, NSL spokeswoman, said: “An error was made by one of our CEOs when he keyed in the wrong registration number by mistake.

"We are pleased to say that this situation has now been rectified and we would like to apologise to Mr Bengall. We have also arranged for our training managers to remind all CEOs that it’s important to enter details accurately, before issuing a ticket.”