A PARKING company has suspended all parking charges at a North-East store after a woman claimed she was fined £85 due to lengthy store queues.

Horizon Parking has 'waived' all parking charges at Wilko in Chester-le-Street after a customer accused both firms of 'profiteering' during the pandemic.

Stefanie Fingleton said that she had been left in 'tears' after she received a parking charge following a trip to the store last Thursday (April 30).

Mrs Fingleton of Sacriston, had parked in the car park, which is controlled by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) while she carried an essential shop totalling £40.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mrs Fingleton hit out at Wilko and Horizon Parking after being fined for overstaying by 12 minutes.

She said it had been 'impossible' to gauge how long her visit would be due to tighter store measures around social distancing.

At the time, she claimed there had been lengthy queues to enter the store and further queues to pay for her goods, causing her to exceed the free 30 minutes stay.

However, after The Northern Echo published Mrs Fingleton's concerns, customers reported that signs suggesting parking charges had been relaxed had gone up.

Confirming that parking charges had been suspended at the store, Wilko said it had agreed with Horizon Parking to 'waive' the fees during lockdown.

A spokesperson for Wilko said: “We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we want to do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for our hard working customers to shop safely with us for their essentials. 

"We believe in fairness and respect and have now spoken to the third party who operate our car park at Chester-le-street and a number of other stores throughout the UK. 

"We have agreed that they will temporarily waive all parking charges for the duration of the current lockdown.

"We thank Stefanie for bringing this to our attention. We know that little wins right now, such as saving your car park fees, have never been more important.”