"It's like a trap" - motorists' warning about fines for using car park at disused Leamington pub
UKPS's parking cameras are still active at the car park for the closed Waterside Inn in Queensway and motorists are being hit with fines of up to £160
Motorists are warning others against using or driving into a car park at a disused pub in Leamington after they received fines for doing so.
Charlie and Alan, who have asked for their surnames to been kept anonymous, have both fallen foul of the parking cameras put in place by private Leamington-based firm UKPS, which is still in operation at the closed Waterside Inn's car park next to the McDonald's Drive Thru in Queensway.
And both are now warning motorists against driving into and using the car park.
Charlie said: "Having driven in and parked I realised the pub was closed, so after reading the very poorly written and displayed sign, I entered a new postcode into my sat nav and left.
"The total time I spent in the car park was about four or five minutes minutes.
"In order to validate parking in this car park, the sign states you must enter your registration number on the tablet in the pub, but as it is closed, this is impossible.
"Two weeks later I receive a fine in the post from UKPS for £100 which could be £60 if paid within 14 days or increased to £160 if solicitors need to get involved.
"Research has proved that this £60 increase is actually not allowed.
"I appealed this fine and received a response within 20 minutes stating my appeal had been rejected and threatening court action if I do not pay the fine.
"As this is a complete injustice. I began researching, and just merely typing in the pub's name into Google brings up hundreds of people who have been scammed in a similar way."
"This has left me now facing the prospect - based on other's experience - of many threatening legal letters and the potential of a small claims court summons.
"I intend to fight this at court if needs be and have all of the evidence needed should it be required.
"But this process means that for the next six years I need to keep this evidence, and also notify UKPS and its solicitors of any change of address, in case they file a court claim to an old address resulting in me getting a county court judgment which can be much worse."
Alan used the car park for about 40 minutes while he took his daughter to a nearby park, thinking that, because the pub is currently closed, that the parking system would no longer be in operation.
He later received a letter with a fine of up to £160 which, after twice appealing to UKPS and contacting Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western along with Warwickshire County and Warwick District Council, he ended up paying in fear that not doing would affect his credit rating.
He wants the car park to be blocked off to stop others facing fines.
Alan said: "There is a big sign there but no way of being able to register your vehicle anymore and the whole place just looks disused.
"It's like a trap."
UKPS had been called in to manage the pub's car park in 2018.
The pub's manager at the time said this was an attempt to stop those who were not customers from using the car park and to stop Drive Thru customers from parking there, eating in their cars and leaving litter behind.The Waterside Inn's management has also provided recent photos of the signs showing that the car park is private land.
The pub has been closed since around the start of the last lockdown with no confirmed date as to when it will re-open.
The Courier has contacted UKPS for a comment.
The AA has provided some useful information for motorists in regard to private car park operators.