Two central Alberta residents are speaking out about their experience with the justice system. They had a hard time fighting photo radar tickets after their licence plates were stolen.

Both say the system meant to protect them is making an already difficult situation worse.

“I was just, you know, in shock,” said Charlotte Munkedal of her $154 photo radar ticket.

She reported her licence plate stolen just a day after she says it was taken off her vehicle while at work in Ponoka. But she still got big fine in the mail; dated one week after her police report was filed.

“Why I even got this ticket is beyond me,” she said.

Her plate was tagged in Edmonton. The Ponoka resident said she works two jobs to make ends meet, and was told she’d have to drive up there to fight it in court.

“It’s cheaper for me to pay the ticket as opposed to me taking time off work, driving to Edmonton and paying for parking downtown,” she explained.

And Munkedal isn’t alone; Red Deer resident Robert Bonim has a similar story.

“Back in February of this year I got two photo radar tickets. One from Grande Prairie, one from Edmonton,” he said.

The tickets were only snapped about six hours apart. Bonim said the one in Grande Prairie was easy to resolve, but couldn’t get out of the fine in Edmonton and ended up paying the $150 so he could renew his registration.

“It’s just ridiculous that thieves can steal the plates and get us all charged for a photo radar ticket and we have to foot the bill and do the travel time or the court time to fight the ticket,” said Bonim.

He said it took him a month before he eventually received a reimbursement in the mail for the ticket paid.

But, in June, four of his U-Haul trucks were stolen. One was found with a tinted plate cover. He said there wasn’t a real licence plate underneath, but rather a photo of a U-Haul plate that was sitting at an Edmonton shop, “It wouldn't surprise me if we get photo radar tickets on it and concerns and questions regarding it.”

For Munkedal she said two weeks of her time had been wasted making calls and sending emails to work out the problem.

She explained that her ticket had been withdrawn but no one told her.

“It’s just frustrating for me because I’ve actually talked on social media about what happened and I’ve had people tell me that they’ve actually just paid the ticket,” she said.

Munkedalis hoping by sharing her story the system changes to protect more people like her.

Bonim’s advice is: “Just keep making noise until you get your money back.”

CTV reached out to the Justice Minister’s office to find out if there was a system in place to help Albertans through a situation such as this one, or if there were any plans to address concerns people like Munkedal and Bonim have.

In a statement the office said: “Help is available for Albertans who have received photo enforcement tickets after their licence plate was stolen. To help get the tickets dropped, Albertans are encouraged to contact the police as soon as possible to report the theft.”

Their advice is to call the number on the back of the ticket, provide any police reports or file numbers to the enforcement agency, or to give the information from a police report to a prosecutor at traffic court.

The office did not comment if there was a way Albertans could avoid going to an out of town court should they receive a ticket in the mail after their licence plate was stolen but that “ticket recipients are advised to keep the police report and a copy of the plate declaration in the event they need to appear in traffic court.”