I met American visitor Steve Neff at the City Chambers where he was first of all trying to pay for a parking ticket he had received, and secondly trying to appeal against it. Of course neither was possible at the City Chambers as our parking enforcement is outsourced.

I explained to him that he would have to do it all online, but he was adamant that somebody in the building should be able to do something to help him out.

Clearly there had been some mistake somewhere but to me, he did seem to have a valid parking ticket for the time that a penalty notice was issued. He did not tell me if he had displayed the parking ticket on the car, so there is always room for doubt.

Mr Neff is on a visit from Chicago with his wife. They had parked their rental car in Victoria Street paid for the parking and then came back later to find a penalty notice on the windscreen.

He told The Edinburgh Reporter : “I have enjoyed Scotland and I have loved all the people here, but I’m very disappointed in receiving something which says I had a parking ticket at 15.35 when I had paid until 16.49. I was issued a ticket at 15.45.

“Interestingly there was a young lady there in the yellow stripes checking the cars, and I asked if it was okay to park there, and she said yes it was. I asked her how to do it and I went in a store and got some pound coins (which I could not get from the Bank of Scotland without an account!) and then bought a ticket.

“We have already been to St Andrews on our trip and had a wonderful time and I have loved Scotland until now!”

I hope he managed to sort it out…and that he will not be put off coming back to Edinburgh. It is a bit of a minefield even for us locals.

In 2017-18 191,563 parking tickets were issued amounting to £5,903,306.31 of income. The contract with NSL cost the council £5,751,450.00 in the same year, which indicates a profit to the council.

The company is responsible for on-street parking enforcement services, vehicle removals, signs and lines maintenance, cash collection, counting, banking and ticket machine maintenance.

American Visitor Steve Neff with the parking ticket he received – even though he had paid for parking on Victoria Street