Jan 29 2013 by Paul Cargill, Perthshire Advertiser
Furious Perth workers blasted parking bosses yesterday after receiving hundreds of pounds worth of fines.
James Cummings (43) contacted The PA after losing patience with Town and City Parking, who have fined him and his two brothers for driving through St Catherine’s retail park.
Mr Cummings, along with Gordon (50) and Stuart (56), are joint owners of slate merchants Cummings & Sons and take a short-cut through the park to get to and from their work at Ladeside Business Centre.
But Town and City Parking have sent them all several £70 fines for allegedly parking longer than the permitted two-and-a-half hours in the customer car park. Mr Cummings said yesterday: “We go through St Catherine’s on our way to work. So the camera takes a photo of our car going through.
“Later in the day, our car goes through again and the camera takes another photo. They’re snapping a photo every time we’ve been through the park.
“Then they’re taking the latest photo at the end of the day and saying we’ve been parked there all day and charging us for it.
“They keep sending us these bills and reminders - they say we’ve been illegally parked. They’ve wanted payment for all of our vehicles.
“It’s totally ridiculous.”
Stuart Cummings was fined last year, Gordon was fined on his first day back at work after the New Year, and James has had several fines for his own car and his works pick-up truck.
Each letter states that a charge of £70 must be paid with 28 days and threatens legal action if the fine is unpaid.
James said: “There’s no chance I’m paying – they can take me to court if they want.
“I phoned trading standards and they said they haven’t got a leg to stand on. The vehicles are always in motion in the photos so they can’t say we’ve been parked there.
“I’ve been shoving the letters in the bin. You’re a mug if you pay it.”
Gordon added: “It’s a shame for old age pensioners – they might get a fright if they’re sent one of these fines and think they had better pay it.”
Elaine MacQueen (53), manager of Salon Services, has received three fines since December for taking the same short cut in the morning and at night.
“I phoned them right away and said I’ve never been in your car park, I passed it on my way to work,” she said.
“I asked them why would I park in your car park when I can park for nothing at my work?
“I said it was ludicrous and I asked them to show me the bay where I was supposed to be parked in. They told me they didn’t have to prove anything but they would look at the cameras again.
“I asked for an apology and I was told the ticket would be cancelled. I asked how long it would take and they said seven to ten days.
“The following Saturday a letter arrives and I thought it was an apology. It was another parking ticket!
“I phoned again and mentioned that I had got two parking tickets and she told me I had three! I told them they could whistle for it.
“They can see me in court because they’re not getting one penny from me.”
And Ricky Thomson (60), owner of AA Garage Services, said he had received seven fines since January 6 and that one of his mechanics had picked up two tickets as well.
“They’re all from the same time in the morning – just before 8 o’clock when we drive through the park to get to work,” he added.
“I went to the office to complain and I said you should cancel all these tickets for everybody. But they told me if people had already paid the fines they won’t get their money back.
“I am absolutely disgusted with them. My mechanic has been down to complain and got them cancelled but at first they weren’t going to cancel them.
“He told them I had already been down to complain about faulty cameras and only then did they say they would cancel them. I’m really annoyed about this. How many car parks is it happening in? They’ve got a lot of car parks – this could be happening all over the country.”
A spokeswoman for Town and City Parking told The PA: “For a short period of time we had a problem with the time-capture mechanism within the cameras at St Catherine’s Retail Park in Perth. This led to data not being processed properly.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly to any customers who incorrectly received a parking charge notice during this period. We will obviously cancel these.
“If you are one of these customers please contact us. The problem with the cameras has now been resolved. Again we would like to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.”