Elderly couple furious at ‘unreasonable’ £100 parking fine after being in car park for only six minutes

An elderly couple have been left outraged as they were charged £100 after being in a Stockton car park for only six minutes.

Martin Plummer and his wife Maureen were charged after visiting the Dovecot Street car park, near Stockton ARC and high street shops. The couple left the car park after only six minutes due to bad lighting meaning they couldn’t read the parking meter properly.

Outraged, Martin spoke to Teesside Live about the hefty fine he was given, so other motorists can be made aware. But Martin and his wife aren’t the first – Terry, 87, and Anne Bonnett, 85, were also handed a £100 fine in the same car park in August after driving away as the meter did not accept cash.

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Mr Plummer, 70, recounted the events leading up to the parking fine he was slapped with. He said: “On the evening of February 24, my wife and I parked at Dovecot Street car park at around 8pm. This was the first time we’d used the car park so we were unaware of the costs and methods of payment.

“We managed to pool some change together but due to the bad weather it was quite difficult to read the instructions, it was clear I had to type in my registration plate but the ‘P’ was completely on the machine. I tried the other machine and it was no use – so after being very cold and very frustrated we got back in the car and drove away.”

According to the British Parking Association, their code of practice states that a minimum grace period of five minutes should be allowed for the driver to leave the car park should they not decide to park there, Martin driving out of the car park exactly six minutes after arriving.

Martin believes that the £100 fine, reduced to £60 upon prompt payment is ‘grossly unfair’. He contacted the parking company which operates in the Stockton car park, Parkingeye, where his appeal of the fine was rejected after two weeks of trying.

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He added: “We contacted Parkingeye three times upon our appeal and instead of gambling on another appeal, we decided to pay the £60 so it wouldn’t escalate. I feel that to impose a parking charge of £60 for the sake of six minutes is both unreasonable and grossly unfair given the circumstances.”

A Parkingeye spokesperson said: “The Dovecot Street car park in Stockton on Tees is monitored by ANPR camera systems and has signage throughout that gives motorists clear guidance on how to use the car park responsibly. Motorists have the option to pay at the machine on site or by phone.

“The motorist parked in the car park on February 24 without paying and therefore received a Parking Charge Notice. However, following a review of the case we have canceled the PCN as a gesture of goodwill.

“Parkingeye operates a BPA (British Parking Association) audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their Parking Charge Notice. If anyone has mitigating circumstances, we would encourage them to highlight this by appealing to Parkingeye.”

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