ANGRY drivers have called for action after receiving a £125 ‘fine’ while buying a parking ticket at a Sheffield shopping centre.
Motorists claim they were slapped with a penalty notice despite being gone for only a few minutes.
Wendy Smith, aged 43, of Foxhill Road, Foxhill, said she got a fine in the time it took to wait for another motorist to use the machine in the rooftop car park at Hillsborough Arcade.
She claims to have been gone for less than 10 minutes.
Jeff Hall said he received a fine after dashing downstairs to a bakery shop to get change. And Clare Allison, of Penistone, was also caught out when she went to get change from a card shop in the centre.
Mrs Smith said: “It’s incredibly unfair and what they’re trying to charge is amazing. It could make a trip to Hillsborough shops very expensive.
“When I went to get my ticket there was someone faffing about with coins ahead of me. That’s all it took, but the attendant who issued the penalty didn’t want to know.”
The car park is controlled by WYCS Car Park management of Wakefield. The firm was called in a month ago to crack down on drivers abusing the car park. It is not paid for its services – but makes money from tickets.
WYCS boss Dave McNicholas said they had upped the ‘free’ period from 10 minutes to 15.
But the firm’s services were required to stop drivers parking all day, he said.
He added: “Historically, the car park has not been patrolled and people think they can park for free but it’s a pay-and-display system.
“People have come back and screamed and shouted at our attendant Dave Watson. But he takes a picture of a car when it arrives and another when he issues the ticket.
“The problem has reduced a lot since we took over.”
Mr Watson, who patrols all day, is on a salary and does not get commission from tickets, he said.
Many motorists question the legal validity of demands for huge sums in private parking tickets.
Hillsborough Arcade management were unavailable for comment. A clamping firm introduced last August was fired after four days, after pressure from The Star.