haven't read through this thread, but had to add a story of a friend of mine who has had quite possibly the worst/most unfair parking ticket fine ever. i couldn't quite believe it when he told me, it was laughably ridiculous.
so...here's the short version...
he parked his van in his usual spot outside his house (resident permit holders spot), and all is well. the next day he sees his van is not there and wonders were it is. calls the police and reports it stolen....next day he receives a letter from the council saying his van had been illegally parked and was towed away, he can receive his van for quite a hefty fee (around £100+...). (he calls the police to inform them his car is found, "sorry to bother you" etc etc....) he can't quite understand why he was parked illegally as he has/had the right permit and knows for certain he was allowed to park where he was (he has lived there for over ten years). he mentions this to the towing company and they remain adamant he was in the wrong.... cut along story short he realises the only way forward is to pay the fine and collect his van (and then contest the fine later).
he goes to the depot where his van is..... and!!! his van is totally written off...completely smashed up, almost squashed half the length!....it turned out, his van was driven into by (what seemed like a very large vehicle..at quite a speed) which immediately wrote off his van......and pushed it onto a double yellow line out of his parking space.... which the council decided was a punishable offence! they also decided it was not worth telling him the condition of his van when he called up to retrieve his van........ he is now in the middle of trying to sort this out.