A SOUTH Lakeland couple who received a parking fine despite the meters being covered-up have warned other people not to be caught out like they were.

Alan Woollcott and his wife plan to take the matter to a small claims court and are currently preparing a case.

Mr Woollcott said his wife, who did not wish to be named, was fined for parking for three-and-a-half hours at Marks & Spencer in Kendal at the end of October.

Mr Woollcott, of Cowan Head, near Kendal, acknowledged that 'under normal circumstances' the time limit on parking was three hours.

However, he said his wife was under the impression that none of the normal charges applied because the meters were taped over with bin bags. He said his wife had also been in to check with store staff that normal charges did not apply while the meters were covered.

Mr Woollcott said: "I don’t know how many other people have been caught out thinking that it’s free.

"We just want to warn people – don’t think just because the meters are covered over that it’s free.

“The amount of money is fairly irrelevant - we’d give it to Cancer Research if we got it back.

"It’s the fact that we think we’ve been unreasonably treated."

On the day she was penalised, Mr Woollcott's wife had driven in to Kendal to do some shopping at M&S and have her hair done.

A few days later, the couple received the £52.50 fine. They paid it to avoid further penalties, but complained to Euro Car Parks, which operates the car park in question, at the same time.

In a response to Mr Woollcott, a Euro Car Parks spokesman said: "Signage is clear and drivers are subject to a maximum stay to ensure that free parking is not abused.

"When parking on private land, it is the responsibility of the driver to look for signage and to ensure that their vehicle is parked in accordance with the terms and conditions as stated."

The couple also wrote to M&S, with a spokeswoman advising them to contact the car park operator.

The couple are currently preparing a case to take to the small claims court.

Euro Car Parks could not be contacted for comment.