Stoke-on-Trent drivers rack up £100k of fines in one year
MOTORISTS have paid out more than £100,000 in parking tickets in just 12 months.
A total of 4,843 fines were handed out across 36 Stoke-on-Trent car parks in 2011/12.
Drivers who had not bought tickets or had returned to their vehicles late were targeted in car parks in Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton, Tunstall and Fenton.
The latest figures, released by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, show most fines were handed out in Hanley and Stoke, where the authority raked in £40,000 and £23,000 respectively.
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Motorists who used Hanley's Clementson's Mill car park received 383 tickets, totalling £8,617, while those parking at Lichfield Street, in Hanley, clocked up 372 fines worth £8,370.
But Fenton Manor Leisure Centre topped the list after seeing 962 visitors hit with fixed penalty notices, totalling £21,645.
Kingsway car park, in Stoke, came a close second with 713 tickets adding up to £16,042.
Meanwhile, 554 visitors to Dimensions Sports Complex, in Burslem, received fines totalling more than £12,400 on its car park last year.
Trader Christa Wilkes, who runs Mrs B's Sandwich Shop, opposite the Scotia Road complex, claims the fear of parking tickets deters customers.
She said: "People used to use Dimensions car park all the time and then nip across the road to us.
"But since parking charges were introduced, they tend not to use it anymore because they don't want to pay and are worried they'll get a fine if they don't."
More than £22,990 came from fines in Fenton car parks, compared to £13,270 in Burslem and just £2,270 in Tunstall.
Motorists in Longton paid out £5,200 in fixed penalty notices.
Thirty five-year-old Dave Hall, who runs Partners Barbers shop, in The Strand, Longton, believes people will soon start shunning council-run car parks for cheaper alternatives.
He said: "People are struggling at the moment and if they can park for free, they will.
"If they keep getting tickets on car parks then they will start parking in side streets to save money.
"If someone nips into town for a hair cut or to visit the bank and comes back to a parking ticket, then it ends up being an expensive trip."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, pictured, cabinet member overseeing parking, said motorists should expect to be hit with fines if they display expired tickets, park in a disabled bay without a badge or park over the bay markings or in a restricted area.
She added: "The majority of penalties issued on car parks are for vehicles which are parked without validly displaying a ticket.
"We give every motorist the chance to challenge a penalty charge notice and each case is considered fairly and on its own merits.
"We cancelled 744 penalties in 2011/12 for motorists who provided a pay-and-display ticket which was not correctly displayed in the vehicle at the time."