Parking complaints soar as cameras ‘entrap’ motorists

Parking complaints soar as cameras ‘entrap’ motorists

“The whole private parking industry exists to catch people out”

COMPLAINTS over parking tickets have soared by more than 50 per cent in a year after a surge in the number of car parks monitored by automatic number plate (ANPR) cameras.

Figures show that almost 50,000 appeals were lodged with the main body set up to scrutinise private parking over the past year, leading to claims that technology is being used to “entrap” drivers. Adjudicators said that just over half of cases were decided in the motorists’ favour or the appeal was withdrawn, usually after the parking operator cancelled the ticket.

In a report, Parking on Private Land Appeals (Popla) said ANPR was one of the biggest sources of challenges in the past year. The technology allows operators to start charging motorists the second that they drive into a car park.

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The report said that the practice was perfectly legal, adding: “If a car park is busy and it takes a vehicle time to park up and time to exit . . . parking operators might consider the vehicle to have overstayed the parking time.” Many motorists are more used to traditional car parks where the charge only kicks in when they find a space and put their money in a machine.

David Carrod, head of Private Parking Appeals, which fights penalties on behalf of motorists, said: “The whole private parking industry exists to catch people out; that’s how the operators make their money. It’s entrapment.”

This article first appeared in The Times