Extortion' claim over car park charging

PUBLISHED: 13:27 01 September 2006 | UPDATED: 19:47 01 June 2010

A WISBECH motorist, facing a fine for not displaying a parking ticket in the Horse Fair car park, claims a national company is running a legalised extortion racket in the town. Maurice Wright says Central Ticketing Limited is breaching a voluntary code of

A WISBECH motorist, facing a fine for not displaying a parking ticket in the Horse Fair car park, claims a national company is running a legalised extortion racket in the town.

Maurice Wright says Central Ticketing Limited is breaching a voluntary code of practice for private car parking enforcement because it does not display adequate signs.

He says he will go to court rather than pay the £80 fine which doubles if not paid within 14 days.

On August 4 Mr Wright noticed the ticket machine normally found inside the car park entrance had been removed. He left his car in a bay on the ground floor where parking is restricted to three hours between 6am and 6pm. There were just two and a half hours left of the restricted period and he was expecting to leave before 6pm.

When he returned to his car shortly before 6pm Mr Wright found a parking charge notice on the windscreen for not displaying a parking ticket.

As he drove out of the car park he spotted the ticket machine next to the exit to the shops but says it was not visible from most of the parking positions.

In a letter to Central Ticketing, Mr Wright says the company is operating in breach of the voluntary code which states adequate signs should be displayed in car parks where enforcement action is to be taken.

"I suspect that the lack of signage is designed to entrap the unsuspecting motorist. I am of the opinion that they are running a legalised extortion racket."

Kevin Smith, manager of the Horse Fair shopping centre, said: "The ticketing system currently in place has been in use for some time and there are multiple signs displayed throughout the car park, explaining the procedure that needs to be followed when parking in the centre.

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