A MAN who was given a parking charge for spending 12 minutes in a car park says that parking firms need to be less trigger-happy with their fines.
Patrick Barry, 30, from Avenue Road, Gosport, visited to Portsmouth to do some shopping, on the same day as the Great South Run.
After being redirected to an NCP car park, Mr Barry found the site to be packed with vehicles, claiming that some were even parked outside of the allocated bays.
Mr Barry, a hairdresser, left immediately, but because he spent 12 minutes in the car park – two minutes more than the usual allocated time – he has been given a parking charge of £50 by NCP.
He said: ‘I had come into Portsmouth to do some shopping, but since it was the day of the Great South Run, the whole city was heaving with traffic.
‘I was redirected from the Cascades car park over to the NCP one – which didn’t have any signs outside saying it was full.
‘But inside, it was absolute bedlam – there were cars parked outside of bays and a traffic jam inside as well.
‘I knew there was no space from the moment I drove in, so got out as quickly as I could and thought no more of it.’
Mr Barry then received a notice from NCP one month later, informing him that he had been charged for spending 12 minutes in the car park without a ticket.
NCP’s limit for being in a car park without a ticket is 10 minutes.
Mr Barry said: ‘When I opened the letter I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
‘I am being forced to pay £50 for the sake of two minutes, on what was one of the busiest days of the year – it’s absolutely outrageous.
‘That time of 12 minutes is the fastest I could get out of the car park – why they didn’t have any contingency plan in place for a day like the Great South Run.’
Mr Barry says he has appealed the decision.
He said: ‘If I don’t win this appeal then I will have to pay £100, which would be a huge blow right before Christmas.
‘I do wish that NCP had let me know a bit further in advance – it’s ridiculous that they took a month to even get in touch with me about it.
‘There were so many other people in that car park – if everyone in front and behind me that also left straight away has been charged, then NCP are just raking in the money.
‘If parking was the Wild West, then NCP would be the cowboys.’
NCP has been approached by The News for comment.