A company which has courted controversy by issuing fines said to be unenforceable in Scotland has moved into Linlithgow.
Euro Car Parks is now in charge of the Regent Centre parking at the eastern end of the town.
And, not only has it made the posts of the previous car parking attendants redundant, but it has angered shoppers by installing a ‘big-brother’ system more commonly used by the police to target offenders.
The automatic number plate recognition system takes a picture of number plates of vehicles entering the car park and another as they leave. If they have been parked for longer than the specified two hours, it issues an automatic penalty of £70 to drivers.
Robert Sheridan, traffic law specialist with solicitors Scullion Law, said: “Many of these parking firms quote legislation that cannot be enforced in Scotland.
“They may threaten to pursue you through a civil action but it would be prohibitively expensive for them and we know of no cases where they have done this. All our clients have successfully appealed their tickets.”
More than 750 car parks across the country are managed by Euro Car Parks.
The firm has recently come under fire from motorists for issuing unfair fines.
Fred McManus, former Strathclyde Police superintendent and now a traffic consultant, said there is no legal requirement in Scotland to even respond to the tickets.
He added: “I can understand large stores wanting to stop people using their parking areas without buying anything.
“So why not employ someone at a barrier and refund charges on production of a receipt?”
A spokesman for Euro Car Parks insisted it was merely responding to the requests of the tenants at the centre for an improved control over indiscriminate parking.
Originally car park users could use the ‘pay and display’ system at the Regent Centre, which was patrolled by attendants, who generally had a relaxed attitude to overstayers.
The new system, which has been installed free of charge by Euro Car Parks, sees them retaining a percentage of the fines it issues. It is this which has caused concern with some car park users, who feel that the only way the company can recoup their outlay is in the issuing of fines.
The owner of the car park claims the ANPR is a better and fairer system, ensuring commuters and local employees can’t block shoppers car spaces by parking all day.