Parking fines may not be enforceable in Scotland

Many fines issued to drivers overstaying time limits in supermarket car parks are not worth the paper they’re written on, it’s been claimed.

Several major stores have brought in private companies to monitor car parks.

Those staying too long are issued with fines of up to £110.

But when motorists appeal the firms often cite the Freedom of Protections Act 2012, which is part of English law and unenforceable in Scotland.

Barrie Segal, founder of parking website, said: “Many people pay up because they look very official and intimidating.

“Others have paid because they have been told they can be blacklisted as bad debt risks.

“And some have been given the impression they’ll be taken to court and cannot face that.

“But these fines are not worth the paper the ticket is printed on.

“Shame on these stores for letting companies like this loose on their customers.”

His view is backed up by Robert Sheridan, traffic law specialist with solicitors Scullion Law. He said: “Many of these parking firms quote legislation that cannot be enforced in Scotland.

“They may threaten to pursue you through a civil action but it would be prohibitively expensive for them and we know of no cases where they have done this.

“All our clients have successfully appealed their tickets.”

More than 750 car parks across the country, including several belonging to Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainbury’s, are managed by Euro Car Parks.

The firm has recently come under fire from motorists for issuing unfair fines.

In one case a woman was ordered to pay £50 after leaving her car in a disabled space, despite showing a parking officer her artificial leg.

Fred McManus, former Strathclyde Police superintendent and now a traffic consultant, said there is no legal requirement in Scotland to respond to the tickets.

He added: “I can understand large stores wanting to stop people using their parking areas without buying anything.

“So why not employ someone at a barrier and refund charges on production of a receipt?”

A spokeswoman for Euro Car Parks insisted the firm issues “charges” and not “fines”. She also denied they make reference to the Freedom of Protection Act 2012 on their parking “notices”.

However we have evidence that it does cite the law in email responses to Scottish drivers who appeal them.

She added: “Parking charge notices issued to vehicles in Scotland are legal and contract law applies.

“They make no reference to the Freedom of Protections Act.”

A spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer, one of the firms who employ Euro Car Parks, said: “We’ve had no complaints. “Any concerns will be investigated.”

A health worker was handed a £70 ticket after driving through a Euro Car Parks area.

Anne Mitchell cut through the car park on her way to and from her work at Carnegie Clinic in Dunfermline.

But Euro Car parks assumed she had been in the car park all day and issued a ticket after spotting her on the way out.

She went in at 1.48pm and left via the car park at 5.04pm on January 12.

Euro Car Parks told her she had overstayed their two hour limit.

“This is a ridiculous,” she says. “I appealed to Euro Car Parks several times but they refused to dismiss the ticket.

“I explained I had no intention of paying them anything.

“They haven’t been in contact since the beginning of February and I don’t know what their plans are now.”

Anne had cut through the car park on her way to work for 10 years. She says no one ever objected before.

Euro Car Parks say they have now dismissed her ticket.