AN ELDERLY couple has been threatened with court action if they do not pay a private parking penalty dished out when they were trying donate their late relatives belongings to a charity shop.

David Gardner briefly parked behind the Subway restaurant in Wallisdown Road, Bournemouth, to visit the team at the neighbouring Julia’s House store.

Mr Gardner, 84, parked the vehicle in the private car parking area, which is supposed to be for Subway customers only, for less than 15 minutes.

He went to the charity shop to see if they wanted to take the donations from his sister’s flat following her death.

Having been unsuccessful in their appeal to Premier Park Ltd, Mr Gardner and his wife Margaret received a letter on Monday, March 21, from debt collectors warning they face potential court action if they do not pay the fee, which has ratcheted up to £170.

Mrs Gardner, 85, told the Daily Echo: “We don’t want sympathy. It is the principle. We were trying to help the charity shop.

“We had so much to sort out and we were there all the time.

“There was a man standing there who must have taken a photograph of David sat in the car about to drive off. You can see it in the images that Premier Park have sent in their messages to us.”

The incident took place in mid-October days after the funeral of Mr Gardner’s sister, who had died earlier that month.

Bournemouth Echo: Signage at the car parkSignage at the car park

The couple, who haved lived in their home in Poole for 60 years, sought help from staff at Subway after receiving the penalty charge notice letter from Premier Park.

Mrs Gardner said staff were very helpful with providing details of someone they could contact about the situation. However, the couple was subsequently emailed by a Subway representative, who said they had been barred from going into the restaurant unless they were buying food.

Mr Gardner, a retired window cleaner, said: “I am not denying that I parked there. We had been dropping stuff off back and forth at Julia’s House and normally parked behind the charity shop.

“On that day I couldn’t park there. I was only there for 11 minutes. It is just unfair how they have dealt with it.”

Bournemouth Echo: The car park where David Gardner parked for just 11 minutesThe car park where David Gardner parked for just 11 minutes

His wife, who said she has no intention of paying the penalty fee, said: “If you pay, even just a bit, you are saying that you are guilty. I don’t feel guilty.

“We feel like the whole situation is very unfair.”

The Daily Echo has contacted Premier Park Ltd and Subway for comment.

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