A 90-year-old patient who relies on the close support of his friend to ferry him to and from hospital forked out £35 on a parking fine after a one minute delay.

John Aggett, from Clacton, endured a nine-day stay at Colchester Hospital after he suffered a chest infection.

Over the past six months he has relied on the support of his good friend and former neighbour Ken Miller, who agrees to drive him to and from appointments.

When Ken parked in the drop-off point at the hospital’s entrance, he exceeded the 30 minute wait time by one minute.

John faced a short delay in his discharge from hospital which led to the longer wait.

After the two friends left the car park, Ken was later sent a £70 fine for the infringement.

John said his friend also has a disabled Blue Badge on display in his car.

Patients with a Blue Badge are granted free parking at the hospital.

“He has run me all over the place, he used to live next door to me and was an ex-police officer of 30 years,” said John.

“It would be hard put to fault him. I think the world of him because over the course of the past six months I have had about nine hospital appointments and he has taken me to every one.”

Not wanting to make a fuss, Ken paid the fine - which was reduced to £35 for prompt payment - and John reimbursed him.

“I recompensed him, but I think they should never have fined him for one minute over the time,” he said.

“The system they have is terrible, he was on a Blue Badge.

“I read the paperwork and I applied to the parking company, but I think the hospital should have an arbiter - someone in place to act between the person and the company running the parking.

John, who enjoyed varied careers including managing a newspaper press and working as a plumber, said vulnerable patients shouldn’t be left out of pocket over such fine margins.

“It is too easy for someone just to accept the fine when it really isn’t right,” he said.

“I was in hospital for nine days with that infection, I nearly bought it a couple of times.”

“He was parked there for a grand total of 31 minutes.”

Fiona Sparrow, head of facilities at Colchester Hospital, said: “We appreciate there are factors which may delay someone leaving the pick-up point and we’re grateful to Mr Aggett for bringing this to our attention.

“If his friend would like to get in touch with us directly we will happily consider his appeal.

"We have an appeal process in place for anyone who thinks they’ve been unfairly fined.”