Anger over checks to vehicle in car park

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A motorist has accused a county council employee of an invasion of privacy after receiving a parking fine.

The Loansdean resident was given a penalty charge notice on July 17 in the car park next to the former Morrisons store in Morpeth town centre.

She said although her car was parked over one of the white lines, it was next to a bay for a motorcycle and such a vehicle could park in the space still available in the bay.

But what prompted her to make a formal complaint to the chief executive of the authority, Steve Mason, was the actions of the civil enforcement officer at the scene.

The resident said: “Last year, I suffered significant ring dents to my previous vehicle in the same car park so I always attempt to park my car on an end space. If there isn’t one available, I will go to a long-stay car park.

“On this occasion, I thought what I did was acceptable because there was plenty of room for a motorbike to park in the space that was left.

“I think it’s heavy-handed to issue a fine in these circumstances, but a bigger concern was the conduct of the civil enforcement officer.

“When I returned to the car I saw her looking through the rear windows, which have privacy glass, and this was at 12.20pm – the ticket was issued, according to the print out, at 12.04pm.

“Someone else sitting in their car in the car park told me she spent a lot of that time next to my car and also looked through the boot window.

“This is totally unacceptable and a complete invasion of my privacy.

“I’m also annoyed that when I rang County Hall, I was told to pay the £25 within a couple of days or the fine would double. When I received a letter from parking services the following week, it said I could have 14 days to pay £25 from the date of the letter.”

A county council spokesman said: “The chief executive has responded directly to the resident’s complaint.

“Our car parks signage clearly states that you must park within a marked bay and our enforcement officers will take photographs of a vehicle where a ticket has been issued.”