ENRAGED motorists have been fined £100 for driving into a car park for just four minutes.
An automated number plate system which scans vehicles as soon as they drive in has been catching drivers out for months.
It leaves people with no leeway to find a space, meaning they get stung even after a visit of just a few minutes without parking up.
And those who have been slapped with penalties have described the strict arrangement as “ridiculous” and “a scam”, CornwallLive reports.
Vicks Campion, whose family regularly use the Sea View Car Park in New Polzeath near Padstow, Cornwall, said: “My poor mum got a ticket as she sat in the car while I dropped a wet suit off.
“We were precisely four minutes and 20 seconds.”
Another user, Hazel Belle Thompson, added: “I work locally and got caught out for being 14 minutes over even though I spend £40 at least every week in this car park.
“I lost a full day’s wages in a parking fine for 14 minutes over.”
And a third driver, Louise Wonnacott, who lives in the area said there is a right of way across the car park to where she lives and she’s been caught out four times for simply passing through.
To add to the confusion, locals have fumed that the signage in the car park, operated by Alliance Parking, is appalling.
The pay-and-display machine says users must cough up from 7am until 11pm with no grace period, unlike others which offer 30 minutes.
However, further down, it also states that £100 fines will be issued for parking there from 10pm until 6am, leaving an hour’s overlap.
The sign goes on to say payment starts from the second you enter the barriers, meaning anyone who drives in and can’t find a spot is punished.
Alice Watts, who fell victim to the harsh rules, said: “I drove in and out, didn’t get out of my car as I was just using the car park to turn around as I’ve done a million times over the years. Fined.
“I appealed. The fine was upheld. Never again.”
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Local Melanie Phippen added: “That is disgusting. Not a good image for tourism.”
And Mark Keegan said: “This car park makes a fortune ripping folk off, especially holidaymakers.
“I’ve said it before to loads of people to avoid this car park at all costs.”
Alliance Parking said it had now fixed the typo in the timings on its sign but denied anyone had ever been fined for the mistake, or for simply driving in and out again.
A spokesperson added: “We are aware to the minor typo on the signage, and it was corrected early Saturday morning.
“Zero tickets have been issued for parking after 10pm where payment has been made.
“As the software is set to honour payments made up to 11pm, no-one has been ‘tripped up’ on this basis.
“Also, no parking charges have been issued for simply driving in and out.”