AN ANGRY dad has hit out over a “ridiculous” parking fine he says was issued simply for spending “about 10 minutes” in a retail park.
Robert Garwood, 25, claims he visited Thomsen Retail Park, in Wessington Way, Sunderland, twice on December 30, last year.
Mr Garwood, from Pennymoor Square, Pennywell, Sunderland, says that on each visit he stayed for about five minutes as he picked up meals from two fast food drive-throughs.
However, within a week he received a letter from ParkingEye, who monitor the site, handing him a £100 parking fine.
The maximum stay on the site is one hour, and the letter from ParkingEye stated Mr Garwood had been there for four hours and 35 minutes, between 3.36pm and 8.11pm.
After refusing to pay the fine, Mr Garwood, who lives with girlfriend Rachel Spence, 23, and their son Jayden, two, faces the prospect of being taken to court.
He received another letter from ParkingEye in February stating that, if the £100 was not paid within two weeks, court proceedings would be issued, incurring further costs.
However, Mr Garwood is determined to continue to fight the action.
He said: “I went into McDonald’s at about 3.30pm to get my son some food, and then went home.
“I went back to the retail park just after 8pm to get food for me and my girlfriend from KFC, and again I used the drive-through, so went straight back home.
“I later received a letter from ParkingEye saying I was being given a £100 parking fine, which of course I contested, but the legal process is still continuing and they are trying to take me to court over it.
“I’ve responded to the court, telling them why I won’t pay the fine, and I was asked for proof I wasn’t there for that length of time.
“I sent them a receipt to prove when I went into KFC, but they say the case is still being pursued.
“I know it’s only £100, but I want to fight it as I don’t want it to happen to others as well.”
Mr Garwood has now called on ParkingEye to drop their case against him, and take note of the evidence available.
He added: “If they reviewed the CCTV footage, they would see me going in and out at the times I said I did.
“There would be no need for me to stay there for the length of time they say I did.
“They have pictured me going in at 3.36pm and leaving at 8.11pm, but haven’t taken into account the fact I wasn’t there all that time.”
ParkingEye did not wish to comment when contacted by the Echo.