It was a bitter-sweet moment for a Sunderland dad who visited South Tyneside to see his son play for the first time in a county team.
What should have been a celebratory moment was soon to be overshadowed after Jason Lennox was hit with a £30 fine for driving through a bus gate as he left an estate in Jarrow.
His wife and father-in-law were also hit with a fine, along with four football coaches and at least 11 of his son’s team-mates, after the match at Perth Green Community Centre on October 11.
They had all left Jarrow’s Scotch Estate via the Edinburgh Road junction, unaware it had been closed to traffic, except buses, last year.
The bus gate was put in place as part of a multi-million pound road revamp in the area.
By July this year, 13,156 people had been caught out while £402,661.47 has been collected by South Tyneside Council in fines to date.
Mr Lennox, from Lothian Close, Sunderland, who had been watching his 17-year-old son play for County Durham Under 18s, in a game against Sunderland Academy, said: “It was two days later when I got the fine for driving through a bus gate. I’d never heard of one, then my wife received a fine, and my father-in-law.
“I wrote to the council to say I didn’t see any signs.
“At the match the other week, my son said a lot of his team-mates ended up with a fine and so did all the coaches.
“If the sign was any good, then we wouldn’t have all missed it.
“The council wrote back to say all the signs were in accordance with traffic regulations. My wife said she had seen a sign, but by the time she saw it, it was too late she was already in the bus gate and was unable to reverse.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “Our absolute priority is road safety and the exit was closed to vehicles except buses to enhance safety.
“The restrictions also help to ease congestion and improve traffic flows at what is a very busy gateway in and out of South Shields.”