Unwary motorists in Perth are being issued with £100 penalty notices – for walking out of a car park.
Notices have gone up at the St Catherine’s retail park car park stretching from Wickes to Tile Giant which state “The driver of the vehicle must remain on site throughout the entire period of parking”.
Motorists who wander across the paths linking the car park to Morrison’s supermarket – where there is a cash machine and toilets – are being issued with fines.
The action has incensed SNP MSP John Swinney who said action must be taken to “sort out” private parking companies.
“This is the first time that I have seen a company undertaking such restrictive conditions,” he said.
“The nature of St Catherine’s retail park is such that members of the public believe that it is all part of the same entity. Although, in reality, it is in several different parts, which are controlled by different private parking companies.
“It is incredible that someone can be fined for simply moving on foot to another part of the retail park, regardless of whether they shopped in that section or not.
The company involved, UKCPS of Leeds failed to respond to The Courier but in a letter to Mr Swinney it said leaving the site was “abuse of the car park”.
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser MSP, who has been battling private parking fines on behalf of his constituents, said: “To even attempt to charge £100 for this infringement is madness, and the proposals within my Members Bill would not only put a cap on fines but also provide these parkers with access to a fully independent appeals body. “
Mr Fraser said “tough new regulations would make operating practices like this a thing of the past.”
Perth councillor Chris Ahern said he was “disgusted” by the penalties and backed Mr Fraser’s bill.
“This bill will hopefully sort out the issues that have arisen with this firm and others that continue to be unfair in the way they treat drivers,” said Mr Ahern.
“Unfortunately the council has no control over them as they are a private company.
“I find it hard to believe that they would be able to take any action over anyone who refuses to pay a charge.”
Shoppers have reported seeing an attendant who follows people leaving the car park taking photographs of them and their vehicle.