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Dartford driver willing to go to court to fight £100 fine at Tower Retail Park, Crayford

A driver is prepared to pay thousands in legal fees to fight a £100 parking fine he received at a retail park.

Lawrence Carnie has been on a personal nine-month crusade after he received the charge for parking in the Tower Retail Park in Crayford in June last year for 23 hours according to parking company Nexus.

Lawrence Carnie has been fighting his fine since June. Picture: Lawrence Carnie
Lawrence Carnie has been fighting his fine since June. Picture: Lawrence Carnie

The 58-year-old appealed the fine with independent adjudicator Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA) but was rejected.

He then contacted the British Parking Association (BPA) who Group Nexus are represented by.

The non-profit organisation ran an investigation into Lawrence's claims but came to the same conclusion.

Now Lawrence, of Kenwyn Road, Dartford, has sought legal help in fighting the fine.

He said: "If I bumped into you in the street and said 'give me £100' you wouldn't do it.

Tower Retail Park. Picture: Google Street View
Tower Retail Park. Picture: Google Street View

"That's what's happened here, they're asking for £100 for not being there.

"It's just so wrong what this company is doing."

The former bank manager visited the Currys store on site to look at new televisions and says he was only there for 30 minutes. He then visited again the next day, this time staying for an hour.

But according to parking company Group Nexus, Lawrence stayed overnight in the car park, exceeding the three hour limit.

Following a failed appeal, the motorist contacted CCJ Removals Services, who help people remove court judgments from their credit reports, and they are advising him on his legal standing.

Paralegal Luke Memory, who specialises in challenging parking fines, is overseeing the case.

He said: "Cases like this do not usually make it to court as the legal costs are much higher than the fine but Mr Carnie is an exception to the rule.

"Once a claim is made against Mr Carnie we would instruct a barrister to draft a defence statement which costs £500 and this would lead to a court hearing at which Mr Carnie would instruct a barrister and this would cost approximately £1000.

Stays at the retail park are limited to three hours
Stays at the retail park are limited to three hours

"It's off-putting for the common man but Mr Carnie is happy to fight it in court."

He added: "They are very clever these companies as the costs to defend a case is much higher than the fine so people would usually just pay.

"My thoughts are he has a good case. What they are alleging is he stayed too long in the car park, but their own evidence does not prove this and is littered with omissions and errors and clearly demonstrates that their records are inaccurate and unreliable."

Lawrence added: "I am doing this purely because the data they provided was so bad.

"They would have to show it to be impeccable but as I have found it doesn't show that."

When Lawrence appealed, the company provided a 356-page document highlighting all vehicles going in and out of the car park between his initial entry and final exit.

He looked through the document and listed every entry into a spreadsheet. He claims he found a myriad of anomalies within the data.

The car park is monitored by an ANPR system which takes a photo of your car upon entry and exit.

According to the file, 135 visitors were seen either arriving or leaving twice, 799 cars spotted either entering or leaving once and one car was recorded to have left three times without entering.

Some of these anomalies have been explained as the data only shows cars going in and out between Lawrence’s first and last entry - cars could have entered the car park before him or left after.

But the former banker says he found 28 "impossible scenarios" of cars visiting or leaving the car park twice.

Lawrence said: "I know they have lost two of my photos which I know I can't prove in isolation but there are so many entries that can't be explained or have not been explained.

"They are using this poor data to give out fines. There are people out there who can't afford the fine let alone the legal process for it and so to be giving out fines on this data is wrong.

The car park is monitored by ANPR cameras
The car park is monitored by ANPR cameras

"There are some entries which begin as 1322 which is essentially the area code for Dartford.

"I think the ANPR system could be scanning numbers off the sides of vans from local businesses."

Group Nexus did not respond to a request for a comment on the case.

A spokesperson previously said: "The PCN was upheld on the grounds that the motorist overstayed the free time allocation.

"Issues with the cameras are extremely rare. When there is one, we virtually always find evidence of it on the system.

"In this case we investigated the claim and could find no evidence that this vehicle had visited the site twice."

A BPA spokesman said: "The motorist appealed the charge issued to their vehicle to POPLA which was rejected as they deemed the charge to have been issued correctly.

"The BPA carried out a through investigation of the motorist’s complaint about the management of the car park by one of its members and found there to be no breach of its Code of Practice."

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