ON August 7 this year my partner and I drove to the car park in DL1 underneath the Premier Inn in Darlington to collect Norwegian friends staying there for a few days.

We knew we had a ten-minute grace period before charges applied.

Our male friend was there waiting but said his wife had just had to urgently nip back into the toilet.

Hardly before he had finished telling us this she appeared, climbed into the car and off we went.

We were amazed sometime later to receive a fine from Excel car parks for £100 as we had been in the car park for ten minutes and 13 seconds!

We appealed citing the reason to no avail.

We feel so hurt that a camera can give you a fine if you are one second over time.

We paid the reduced fine of £60 to avoid any further anxiety as threats are made of court action.

Never will we use this car park again.

Darlington is trying to encourage visitors not scare them off.

We are not the only people who have been upset by the attitude of Excel who run this and many other car parks around the country. Beware.

Rosalind Robinson, Darlington