AN engineering consultant who successfully appealed a parking ticket issued to his wife has jokingly suggested setting himself up as a 'Mr Loophole' for others facing fines.

Pauline Welsh was left feeling 'Brassed Off' after getting a £100 fine for parking in the car park off St Cuthbert's Way, in Darlington, on her way to the town's Civic Theatre, without paying.

Although parking charges applied at the time, Mrs Welsh did not notice the signs as it was dark.

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She returned from a performance of the Willy Russell play to find she had been given a ticket by wardens acting on behalf of the private car park's operators, Excel Parking Services.

Mrs Welsh and her husband Alastair, from Newton Aycliffe, appealed the parking charge notice to London-based body Parking on Private Land Appeals (Popla).

They successfully argued that signs in and around the car park do not make it clear enough that parking charges apply.

Mrs Welsh said: "I was unaware of the requirement to purchase a ticket, had I been aware of course I would have bought one.

"I was gutted to come out of the theatre, having paid my £50 for my show ticket, to find I had been given a parking ticket."

Mr Welsh, who works as a consultant, and 65 is approaching retirement, said he should start a business appealing parking tickets given to other motorists.

He said: "I am all for reasonable charges, as long as people know about them. The answer is to make these private parking firms put up proper signs."

There are signs detailing the charges next to the pay and display machines in the car park, but the signs on the way into the car park are printed in small lettering.

The couple argued it was not reasonable to be expected to see those signs while driving in.

Popla assessor Christopher Adamson agreed.

In allowing the couple's appeal, he wrote: "I am not satisfied that it was brought to her attention.

"The entrance board provided by the operator may well have been illuminated by Mrs Welsh's headlights, but its contents are in a font so small that I am not satisfied any of it would have been legible.

"It is for the operator to bring its terms of parking to motorists if it seeks to bind them by these terms."

No one from Excel Parking Services was available for comment.