Close encounters of the excuses kind

Spotting a UFO and colour blindness were excuses given by drivers for not paying parking fines. The UFO spotter said he was so shocked by what he had seen that he drove into a bus lane, as he explained in a parking appeal to Southwark Council, south London. Another appellant said: "I'm colour blind, so I thought the yellow line was green."

Other reasons given over the last two years have included: I thought I could park anywhere if the weather was bad; I don't know what the yellow lines mean; I had to take an injured dog to the vet and did not want the animal to endure extra pain by limping further to the car; I was sleeping in the car, the attendant could have asked me to move the car instead of giving me a ticket, although he would not have seen me as I had a blanket over my head.

Gill Davies, director of environment and housing at Southwark Council, said: "The imagination of these drivers is quite impressive, but UFOs and colour blindness unfortunately do not count as legitimate reasons to overturn a ticket."