TAXI driver Mohammed Islam has been left fuming after he was fined £50 for leaving his car while he bought a burger.
The 30-year-old private hire driver, who lives in St Michael’s Square, said the punishment did not fit the crime when he left his engine running in Station Road in the early hours of December 29.
But police insist he was posing a major risk to public safety and said they found his unattended car facing the wrong way in a bus lane, with fog lights on.
In all, a spokesman said, he was committing three offences and could have been summonsed to court.
Instead, the officer “used his discretion” and issued the fine for the most serious of the offences, abandoning a vehicle.
Mohammed said: “I was told it was a section 201 offence because I had left my car unattended.
“I was gone for seconds. It was gone midnight and you can no longer get down Eastgate Street, where I would have gone for some food, because they close the road on Saturday night.
“I pulled up in the road and went into the Food Hut for a burger but I could see my car the whole time, there’s no way I had abandoned it.
“It just seems ridiculous and heavy handed.
“If I had done something wrong, why not just tell me that and ask me not to do it again, or why not come into the Food Hut and ask?
“To get a £50 fine is really over the top.”
A police spokesman said: “Leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running on a public road is also known as quitting a vehicle and is an offence.
“While this person does not agree, the officers believed the circumstances in this case meant it was appropriate and proportionate to issue a fine.”
He added: “The officer did use discretion and issued a fine for the most serious offence, which is the abandoning of the vehicle.
“This is because the car could have lurched forward or someone could have got in and driven off, causing a huge risk to public safety.”