09:00AM, Friday 08 September 2017
A regular Waitrose customer in Twyford was wrongly recorded parking illegally in a private car park adjacent to the store, even though she was only turning her car around.
Helen Johnstone, a freelance writer from Wargrave, was trying to park in bays belonging to the store but in doing so turned into the adjacent car park while attempting to reverse into a Waitrose bay.
The CCTV that monitors the car park belonging to Twyford House – managed by Britannia Parking – read her number plates but then missed her vehicle when she drove off.
When the camera picked up the same number plates for the same reason the next day, it recorded Helen’s car as being parked illegally for 24 hours.
Helen was then sent a £100 fine.
For evidence, Helen said Britannia Parking produced two almost identical digital photographs of her Fiat 500 as it was being driven forward to reverse into the Waitrose parking bays behind.
She added: “Not surprisingly, Britannia couldn’t produce any photographs of my car parked in the Twyford House car park, as it never was.”
Helen has since had her fine dismissed on appeal but she was concerned about the same thing happening to other drivers.
Wokingham Borough councillor Lindsay Ferris (Lib Dem, Twyford) intends to take the matter up with the retailer.
He said: “Waitrose have a responsibility to keep a hand on what Britannia Parking gets up to.
“If one of their customers has been treated that way it could be affecting a lot more.”
A spokesman for Britannia Parking said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Johnstone experienced issues at the car park in Twyford.
“As a member of the British Parking Association and the industry’s Approved Operators Scheme, we take our responsibilities to customers very seriously.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in Twyford going forward.”
A spokeswoman for Waitrose added: “While we are sorry to learn of Ms Johnstone’s experience, the Twyford House car park is not a Waitrose car park and is operated and managed entirely by a separate parking management company, so I’m afraid this is something she would need to raise with them.”
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