AS you drive into Bishop Auckland, near the bus station, over and above the usual taint of diesel, there is a new smell, an unfamiliar smell, I’m thinking of cordite left by the cowboys that are running the once friendly B&M carpark.

At best, the new car park ticket machines are poor and although you type all your car registration number in, it often only prints part of the number onto the ticket. A little while later, the demand for £60 drops on your mat with a lovely picture of your car entering the B&M car park.

Appealing is a waste of time. Appealing through Popla, the apparently unbiased appeal system, only increases the fee from £60 to £90.

On our part, there was no attempt to defraud and we have the ticket with over half of our car reg on it. If the ticket wasn’t appropriate, there has been no offer to return our money.

The clever car park machine isn’t clever enough to realise the ticket it has issued is for a car that doesn’t exist although it easily could do this!

We all know, of course, that computers, and car park ticket machines, can’t make mistakes?

Exactly the same happened to another lady this morning who had used the last of her change to pay for the ticket. Luckily, my wife and another passing lady were able to rake around and find enough change to purchase another ticket.

Whilst these cowboys are responsible for the B&M car park, my suggestion is that there are other shops that sell what B&M sells - shop elsewhere like we do.

Our duty of care is to ensure the number printed on the ticket matches the registration plate. If the ticket machine gets it wrong, get ready for the sounds of hooves!

Michael McLaren, Witton le Wear