A DRIVER has slammed a parking firm after he was slapped with a fine despite spending just 15 minutes at a Sunderland retail park.
Craig Newell visited the Hylton Riverside Retail Park more than six hours after his girlfriend had done the same.
Both stayed for around 15 minutes as they went to a fast food restaurant, but Craig received a £100 fine after being told his car was parked there all day.
Parking at the retail park is free for people who stay for less than an hour.
Craig, 26, said: “I went to KFC at 7.45pm, got food and left straight away.
“It was the same for my girlfriend, she went to McDonald’s at 1.15pm and drove off.”
Craig, a bricklayer from Hylton Castle, routinely visits the same KFC, so he was shocked to receive a letter from ParkingEye, who monitor the car park.
He said: “The letter had a photograph of the car parked there in the afternoon and another of it leaving at night, nothing else.
“It says if I don’t pay the fine, then they’re liable to get the money.”
According to Craig, plenty of his friends have had similar problems.
He said: “I posted a status on Facebook and soon there was about 40 comments from people who’ve been fined at different places all over Sunderland.
“They say I should ignore it, but I don’t want to.”
Craig’s attempts to contact ParkingEye have been unsuccessful so far, including being left on hold for half an hour before being cut off.
Tiffany Stromsoe, media relations executive at ParkingEye, said: “We operate an audited appeals process and encourage people to appeal if they feel there are mitigating circumstances.
“We would request in this instance that the motorist appeals to us, in writing, documenting these mitigating circumstances so that our dedicated appeals staff can look into it.”