A council that dragged a mother-of-two through the courts over an unpaid 40p parking ticket was accused of " wasting" thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money after it lost the case.
Laura Trotman, aged 25, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, fought an 11-month battle with her local council over a £100 parking fine, which she had refused to pay.
She was given an absolute discharge by magistrates in November and told she would not have to pay a penny after the court accepted the ticket machine had been out of order when she parked her car.
But the council decided to launch a costly challenge against the sentence, which was rejected on Monday at the same court. The council was thought to be considering taking its fight to the High Court but yesterday announced it had finally ended its prosecution.
Mrs Trotman's husband Paul said: "I'm not great at maths but if you spend £5,000 and only get back £100 at best - it's not worth it.
The couple's ordeal began when they parked their Peugeot 307 in a council-run car park in Stroud town centre on January 22. As they went to pay for a 40p ticket, they noticed the machines were covered over with a sheet.
When they returned, they found a yellow penalty ticket stuck to the windscreen. They had to pay the £5 fine within 24 hours, but found the council offices were closed because it was the weekend.
The penalty automatically increased to £30, which the couple refused to pay.
Mrs Trotman - who had been prosecuted because the car was registered in her name - was then diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and spent long periods in hospital.
This meant she was unable to reply to the council's demands for bigger and bigger sums because of the non-payment.
She was too ill to attend the first of three court hearings but was found guilty in her absence and ordered to pay £100.