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'Parking spies' hit wandering shoppers at Arnison Centre at Pity Me, Durham, with £100 fine
SHOPPING spies are fining unknowing customers £100 a time for visiting rival stores.
Shoppers at an edge-of-town retail complex face the hefty bills if they park in one area but shop in another.
One victim who was fined £100 claimed she saw officials spying on shoppers from a parked van issue tickets to seven vehicles.
Calls are now growing for the regime to be axed.
One shopper branded the scheme an appalling money making ploy and a councillor has urged anyone issued with a parking ticket to challenge it.
The issue centres on the Arnison Centre, in Pity Me, Durham City.
Shoppers who see the complex as one development might have thought consistent parking rules applied across the board.
But in fact different sections are policed by different private firms and shoppers parking in one area but shopping in another face a £100 fine.
The car park near Asda Living and neighbouring stores is run by UKCPS. Confusingly, a sign says it is for “Arnison Centre customers only” but then warns there is to be no parking for “elsewhere outside the car park”.
UKCPS did not respond to The Northern Echo’s request for comment.
By contrast, people using neighbouring car parks, including Sainsbury’s, are allowed to visit other stores.
County councillor Mark Wilkes, whose ward includes the Arnison Centre, said: “Anyone who has been issued with a ticket for going from one part of the centre to another should challenge it.
“At best it is grossly misleading to have different rules in different parts of the centre for parking.
“If this isn’t a mistake it is a disgraceful attempt to fleece residents.
“I will be contacting the centre as I am convinced that the tickets issued because of people going from one part of the site to another to do their shopping should be cancelled.”
The UKCPS sign also limits parking to three hours. The £100 fines are reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
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