Motorist turns detective to prove car parking fine was wrong


Motorist turns detective to prove car parking fine was wrong

Richard Lee, from the Queensland Road area in Hartlepool, had to turn to detective methods in order to overturn a £40 parking fine issued by supermarket chain Asda.

Smart Parking, who work on behalf of the superstores, issued the 63-year-old with a £40 fixed penalty and accused him of over-staying the three-hour limit at Hartlepool's Asda store.

The fixed penalty notice included images of Mr Lee entering the car park at 6.56am and leaving at 9.23pm, an accusation of a 14-hour stay in the car park.

But Mr Lee said he had actually visited the store twice that day, for around 20 minutes each time, but somehow the company had not provided images of him leaving shortly after 7.20am and re-entering at 9pm.

Instead of caving in and coughing up the fine, Mr Lee went to great lengths to prove his innocence. He remembered that he had visited his local gym for an hour that day and managed to obtain CCTV footage that showed his car entering the gym car park at 11.50am.

Mr Lee - who has been working closely with Hartlepool MP Iain Wright on a campaign to get justice over the handling of his daughter's disappearance from a German army base in 1981 - enlisted the help of the MP to prove they were attending a meeting at 1.30pm on the day the fine was issued.

Smart Parking has since waived the £40 penalty fee and sent him a £20 cheque for the inconvenience. Asda has also issued £10 worth of store vouchers as a goodwill gesture.

But he says he says it took over a month and complaints to five different Asda managers to have the problem rectified and he is angry at Asda and Smart Parking for not being able to solve the issue sooner.

Mr Lee told the Hartlepool Mail: "I want an apology, an assurance it won't happen again and an explanation of how it happened in the first place."