Wigan shopper's disgust at £100 car parking penalty

A furious shopper has labelled it a ‘disgrace’ after he was wrongly fined £100 by a shopping centre parking firm.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 9:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 10:09 am
Motorist Das Neocleous was sent a PCN, claiming he parked overnight at The Gerard Centre

Das Neocleous was given the ticket for allegedly parking at the Gerard Centre, Ashton, for more than 24 hours.

The 62-year-old has since had his fine rescinded after complaining to Civil Enforcement Ltd, the firm who issued the fine, after they admitted an “error” had been made.

Customers can park at the centre for two and a half hours for free.

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Mr Neocleous, of Dalton Grove, Ashton, said: “I first parked my car at the Gerard Centre on Monday, January 20, at 9.46am.

“I left around half an hour later at between 10.15am and 10.20am.

“I then didn’t return to the shopping centre until 11.56am the next day and left by about 12.45pm.

“This was well within the two-and-a-half hours customers can park there for free.”

Knowing he had parked at the Gerard Centre within the times he was supposed to, Mr Neocleous said he was “shocked” to receive a parking ticket through the post a few days later.

He said: “I received a penalty charge notice from Civil Enforcement Ltd of £100 which it stated would go down to £60 if I paid the fine within a certain amount of time.

“They said I’d parked there on Monday morning and allegedly not moved my car until Tuesday morning.

“They’ve used two photos from two visits on different days and claimed that I’d parked for 26 hours.

“I have video evidence from CCTV that my vehicle was on my driveway at the time they claim I was on that car park.

“So I wasn’t going to be paying the fine.”

After receiving the ticket, Mr Neocleous complained to Civil Enforcement Ltd, who have since informed him that his fine has been cancelled as an “error” had been made.

He said: “I’m obviously pleased that they’ve seen sense and that the ticket has been rescinded but this shouldn’t be happening in the first place and is wrong.

“I’ve heard that other shoppers have been wrongly fined at the Gerard Centre by this parking firm for similar reasons to me, and it makes you think how many other people have been affected at the centre and across the rest of the country.

“I’d worry that elderly and vulnerable people who might not understand how this all works would be particularly affected.

“It’s a disgrace what has happened with the parking fine and they seem to be making money out of people who are legitimately parking in the car park for less than the length of time they can park there for free.

“I want to raise awareness so that other shoppers aren’t caught out and wrongly fined, and so that they know what to do if this happens to them, and so what has happened to me doesn’t happen to other people.”

Mr Neocleous’s ordeal comes after the Wigan Post reported the concerns of Ashton resident Andrew Marshall, who was also wrongly fined £100 by Civil Enforcement Ltd after parking at the Gerard Centre in November.

They claimed he had parked there for 24 hours continuously, which Mr Marshall refuted.

The firm, later, admitted a “mistake” had been made and his fine was rescinded.

While back in 2013, mum Lisa Bond was shopping at the Co-op supermarket at the centre when she was fined £150 for staying over two and a half hours.

It prompted her to claim that there were not enough signs warning shoppers of the parking regulations.

Calls to Civil Enforcement Ltd’s office in Liverpool got through only to an automatic answering service which collects credit card payments and does not answer queries.