A NORTH-EAST man has raised further concerns after being slapped with a £100 parking charge while on a County Durham road.

Regent Parking has again been criticised for its signage on a stretch of road linking Thinford Services, near Spennymoor and the A167. 

Key worker Ken Warren hit out at the firm over the signs in place at the time of his visit, while raising concerns over the ability to contact the company.

Regent Parking has since confirmed it has "amended" its signs at the site and has moved to reassure customers that those contacting them will receive a response.

SEE MORE: Drivers warn others after being hit with £100 charge at Thinford near Durham

Speaking to The Northern Echo Mr Warren, of Washington, said he did not believe there was adequate signage after being caught on February 4, 2021. 

The Northern Echo: Picture: CONTRIBUTORPicture: CONTRIBUTOR

Mr Warren, who works for a major electrical company, also said that he had been left "stressed" when trying to determine what amount he must pay.

He said: "I got the charge after myself and a colleague had stopped for a coffee at McDonald's and the car park had been cordoned off. 

"So we pulled into the old layby and put the world to rights as you do, we must have been there for about ten minutes.

"There were a few small signs to say it's controlled parking but there weren't any rates or mention of £100 on there."

Mr Warren, who said he only realised he had done something wrong once receiving the charge in the post, said he did not realise he and his colleague had been photographed.

He said: "We had seen this guy in an unmarked car get out a few metres behind with a camera and we just thought he was taking pictures of the building site.

"He didn't once tell us oh you can't park here, or anything like that - I just get the impression with these companies, they are out to make money." 

But raising further concerns over how to pay his charge, Mr Warren said the initial £100 charge had been sent to the finance company meaning his discounted grace period had appeared to expired. 

He said that as a result he lost "valuable time" in which to pay the discounted rate of £60, if paid within 14 days, and ended up paying the £100 charge after receiving a demand for the higher rate in the post.

He said: "I couldn't get through to anybody at Regent Parking to discuss this as it was automated and ended up paying them £100."

The Northern Echo: The parking company has said further signs have been added Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTThe parking company has said further signs have been added Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

'There are now larger signs in place'

In response, Regent Parking said it had cancelled Mr Warren's Parking Charge Notice as a "gesture of goodwill" while confirming that signs had been amended with several large signs now in place.

A company spokesperson said: "We have amended the signage and have had the site re-audited with the International Parking Community.

"There are now several larger signs in place, including a large sign at the entrance which advises drivers that parking is not permitted under any circumstance.

"We are therefore satisfied that we have taken appropriate remedial action to rectify the previous issues that were raised. 

"With regards to this specific case, as the contravention was detected prior to the new signs going up, as a goodwill gesture, we have cancelled Mr Warren's PCN on a without prejudice basis."

The spokesperson went on to say that any driver that contacts the firm to query their parking charge will receive a response.

They said: "In terms of being able to contact us, as with much of the country, our offices are running with minimal staffing levels and our phone lines are not always manned, hence on occasion, callers will be diverted to our automated phone lines.

"Notwithstanding this, drivers are able to appeal or contact us in writing or by email/website and they would always receive a response to any communication attempt.

"With regards to how evidence is obtained, we confirm that it is a legitimate and lawful practice for parking operators to gather photographic evidence using handheld devices to enable PCN's to be sent out in the post.

"This is set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012," they added.