A VAN driver is considering legal action after a trip through the Tyne Tunnel cost him £166.90.

Craig Thomason, from South Moor, in Stanley, said he used the route beneath the river before Christmas but paid in advance.

The 40-year-old, who runs a carpet cleaning company said he was stunned when fixed penalty notice arrived.

Mr Thomason, who drives a Vauxhall Vivaro, said: “I had paid it in advance before I made the travel.

“When I have gone through it has not clocked my van.

“I think it is disgusting. Why would I not have just paid the £1.90.”

Mr Thomason did not pay the £30 and after 28 days the amount rose of £60.

He said: “They gave me the chance to pay it again and then it went up to £90.

“I just ignored it. Then a recovery company sent me a letter.

“I have heard people saying it has happened to them where they come and take things from your house, just for going through the Tyne Tunnel. It is wrong.”

Mr Thomsaon, who has a partner and an eight-year-old daughter, said he did not want bailiffs coming to his house so her paid the full amount of £166.90.

Now is taking steps to get his money back.

Mr Thomason said: “They are just ignoring me. I am appealing to try and get that money back. It ridiculous. They are just ripping people off.

“I have paid it just to get them off my back to stop them sending anybody.

“They were threatening to send bailiffs to my door. I have bairns here. It is shocking.

“I am trying to run a business and times are hard for everybody.”

Mr Thomason said he was appealing against the fine imposed for his journey on December 10 last year.

Earlier this year, Tyne Tunnel bosses defended the system after thousands of people signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped.

The crossing made the switch to a cashless ‘free flow’ model last November.

Drivers can no longer pay at the tunnels’ traditional toll plazas using cash and must instead use either a pre-paid account or pay online afterwards.

The aim is to reduce journey times but the system has been criticised for being ineffective.

Customer services manager at TT2, Simon Harding, said: “Mr Thomason has appealed two charge notices and, as part of one of those appeals, he sent us a bank statement which he thought would prove that he had paid the toll.

"However, because he has made multiple crossings – the bank statement showing a payment to TT2, alone, cannot tell us which particular journey he was paying for. Therefore, we requested some additional information from Mr Thomason - which he did not provide.

“We are more than happy to speak with Mr Thomason to see how we can help him, and we can put his UTCN on hold until he supplies the requested information. Once he gives us more details, we will be able to get to the bottom of why his toll for this particular journey has not been paid.”


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