DIY stores 'prosecute' parking offenders

Published:  23 April, 2010

DORCHESTER: There is growing anger from DIY store customers forced to pay fines for parking infringements on private land.

Company director, Rob Gale has set up an online group urging drivers to boycott stores after he was stung with a £60 fine for using Focus DIY twice in one day.

Mr Gale received the fine for parking at Focus in Dorchester once in the afternoon to pick up a pedestal trap for a sink, and for a second visit at 6.30pm to get more DIY equipment.

A week later he received a parking charge notice by Gerrards Cross-based G24 Parking Solutions that said he had parked at the Dorchester shop for three hours.

Cameras in the car park of Focus photograph number plates when vehicles enter and exit the site.

Mr Gale is now urging people to boycott Focus in Dorchester. He said says similar problems have happened at B&Q in Weymouth, which uses a similar camera system and is managed by ParkingEye.

"I've set up a Facebook group to make people aware of what could happen using the car parks of these DIY stores. A lot of people must have experienced this – you go home, try and fix something and run out of what you bought so you need to go back for more," Mr Gale said.

A spokeswoman from Focus said the parking system was designed to deter long-term parking and limit parking to customer use. 

Questioned by a local newspaper as to why the system apparently failed to detect multiple visits she said: "That's something you would have to take up with G24." G24 Parking Solutions declined to comment.

Similar problems were experienced at Weymouth's B&Q earlier this year, where shoppers who visited the DIY store twice in the same day received £80 fines. Similarly, Parking Eye, which manages the B&Q car park, refused to comment.

Companies operating parking charging schemes have a poor track record of dealing with complaints and adopt an extremely aggressive stance when challenged.

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