A woman has said she is “furious” after she was served a fine from a popular Darlington car park for taking too long to pay her parking charge.

Kirsty Hazelgrave has hit out at a charge she received from Feethams Leisure Car Park after she parked for just over a day on June 18.

Ms Hazelgrave, who was visiting the town with her husband and daughter, stayed at a nearby hotel whilst they saw family for an event.

Read more: Durham lad fighting 'unfair' £100 fine at Darlington Feethams Leisure Car Park

After parking at Feethams and leaving a day later, the family thought nothing of it but were shocked when they were hit with a fine for reportedly taking too long to pay for their parking.

Weeks later and after an unsuccessful appeal to Excel Parking, Kirsty has said she felt like she had “no choice” but to pay.

She said: “We came up for the weekend for a family event. We had never been up before, but my daughter looked it up and found there was a car park near where we were staying.

“We pulled in and parked up, then we got to the machine and realised it only takes coins, which is a bit weird. So, we either had to pay by coin or pay over the phone by card.

“My husband quickly went to a shop to get coins so we could pay whilst my daughter tried over the phone. She couldn’t figure it out as it said it kept failing.

“Eventually my husband came back with coins so we paid and got our ticket. When we left a day later we didn’t think any more of it.

“Then, on July 5 I got the parking fine and thought ‘how has that happened’?”

Kirsty had reportedly tried to ring the company to discuss the fine but found the line was automated, as she discovered the car park imposes a strict five-minute time constraint for drivers to pay up.

Now, Kirsty has admitted she is reluctant to visit Darlington again as the whole experience has put her off.

She added: “I’m furious because I was thinking of coming back up for my birthday later this year and I don’t want to now. It’s really put me off.

“The parking fine is now more than we paid for the hotel.”

This is not the first time fines have been imposed on drivers at Feethams, as The Northern Echo reported a similar story of a County Durham 19-year-old who was served a £100 fine for spending thirteen minutes in the car park last year.

Karl Bracken, 19, spent just 13 minutes in the Feethams Leisure Car Park and tried to pay online during a trip to see Top Gun Maverick in June 2022, but said the website would not take his payment.

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Karl, 19, from Ferryhill, told The Northern Echo: “It took me a few minutes to get to a bay because there were people pulling in and out in front of me.

“I didn’t have any change so went to pay online but it wouldn’t take the payment.

“I thought it’d be easier to just go and park somewhere else, which we did, but three weeks later I got a letter saying I’d been fined £100 because I was there longer than the five minutes they give you to pay after entering the carpark.”

The Northern Echo contacted Excel Parking for a statement but did not receive one.