DISGRUNTLED shoppers are angry about the operation of a new commercially run car park at a South Lakeland supermarket.

They are upset at having received parking fines after falling foul of what they claim is a "misleading" way of calculating time spent in the car park at Kendal's Marks and Spencer store.

Some are under the impression that they had been parked in a bay within the time frame notified on their tickets. But operators Euro Car Parks say that the clock starts ticking when vehicles are photographed by number plate recognition cameras while entering and leaving the car park.

Caught out motorists say they were not aware this was the case and some are threatening to boycott the store in future and take their business elsewhere.

"As long as Euro Car Parks is running the parking facility I won't be going to Marks and Spencers," said Lorraine Santamera, of Windermere, who had received three fines over a two month period.

"I have been shopping at the store for 30 years and there is no way I will be going back, I am not taking that risk.

"Euro Car Parks has been ripping people off with no real explanation as to why they have been fined, it's like a scam."

Tim Hutchinson, of Midfield, Gaisgill, near Tebay also fell victim to the new parking regulations.

He said: "It's not clear from the signage in the car park that when you buy a ticket you can ignore the time on the ticket because that's not actually relevant."

"I think it's, at the very least, misleading."

Mr Hutchinson said that he initially received a £52.50 parking fine 12 days after his shopping trip to Kendal. He unsuccessfully appealed the fine and ended up with a £123.25 fine.

A Euro Car Parks sign at Marks and Spencers says: "We are using cameras to capture images of vehicle number plates and calculate the length of stay between entry and exit at all times including bank holidays."

But Mr Hutchison said that to issue a time-stamped ticket when that was not being used to calculate the length of time a vehicle is in a bay is "misleading."

Euro Car Parks and M&S told the Gazette there is a "grace period" in force at the car park, to allow for the time it takes a motorist to park-up, decide they want to comply with the stipulated regulations, and buy a ticket. However, neither were able to confirm its length.

Louise Yates, M&S Kendal store manager, said: "We want to ensure our customers have a good experience whenever they shop at our store - from parking to buying products.

"We share all customer feedback with the team at Euro Car Parks. We've also asked them to come in to discuss what improvements can be made."