Cornish beauty spot visitors are wrongly hit with £100 parking fines

Exclusive: Another FINE mess! Hordes of furious day trippers to Cornish beauty spot receive £100 parking fines despite having paid and displayed – due to parking machine glitch that only asks for the last three characters of their number plate

  • One rogue pay and display machine at Sennen Cove; another at Rockpool beach
  • Motorists were asked to enter last three characters of number plate; parking firm Armtrac Security Services’ other machines require all seven characters
  • Fabien Bellouere and wife, Verity, paid to park at Sennen Cove; got a £100 fine 
  • Their appeal was rejected by Armtrac who said their terms and conditions state drivers must display whole number plate
  • Armtrac today apologised for ‘honest mistake’ but haven’t stated whether all customers wrongly fined will get a refund
  • Hordes of furious visitors to beaches in Cornwall have blasted a parking firm after a machine glitch meant that they were wrongly hit with £100 fines.

    When motorists parked at Cornish beauty spots Sennen Cove and Rockpool beach, a single rogue pay and display machine at each asked them to enter the last three characters of their number plate – but the company’s other machines require all seven characters.

    Parking enforcement officers didn’t realise that there was a discrepancy between what customers had been asked to enter – so issued fines to those who had used the ‘three characters only’ machines.

    The number of people hit by fines despite paying and following instructions is thought to have run into the hundreds.

    Hordes of furious visitors to beaches in Cornwall have blasted a parking firm after a machine glitch (above) meant that they were wrongly hit with £100 fines

    Hordes of furious visitors to beaches in Cornwall have blasted a parking firm after a machine glitch (above) meant that they were wrongly hit with £100 fines

    When motorists parked at Cornish beauty spots Sennen Cove and Rockpool beach, a single rogue pay and display machine at each asked them to enter the last three characters of their number plate - but the company's other machines require all seven characters

    When motorists parked at Cornish beauty spots Sennen Cove and Rockpool beach, a single rogue pay and display machine at each asked them to enter the last three characters of their number plate – but the company’s other machines require all seven characters

    Holidaymaker Fabien Bellouere was one of those caught out in the mix-up - and, after paying to park, received a £100 fine in the post two weeks after he visited Sennen Cove with his wife, Verity (both pictured)

    Holidaymaker Fabien Bellouere was one of those caught out in the mix-up – and, after paying to park, received a £100 fine in the post two weeks after he visited Sennen Cove with his wife, Verity (both pictured)

    Mr Bellouere, 58, a housing support officer from Lancaster, had paid cash into the machine at the top car park and entered the first three characters of his car's registration as instructed and displayed the ticket in his windscreen

    Mr Bellouere, 58, a housing support officer from Lancaster, had paid cash into the machine at the top car park and entered the first three characters of his car’s registration as instructed and displayed the ticket in his windscreen

    Holidaymaker Fabien Bellouere was one of those caught out in the mix-up – and, after paying to park, received a £100 fine in the post two weeks after he visited Sennen Cove with his wife, Verity.

    Mr Bellouere, 58, a housing support officer from Lancaster, had paid cash into the machine at the top car park and entered the first three characters of his car’s registration as instructed and displayed the ticket in his windscreen.

    His appeal was rejected by parking contractor Armtrac Security Services, who said their terms and conditions state that drivers must display their whole number plate.

    He told MailOnline the fine had left a sour taste in his mouth and marred the holiday, adding: ‘This is absolutely scandalous and unethical.

    ‘These parking cowboys should have their contract revoked. We have been staying in Treen and St Just for 20 years now and it is the second time we’ve been done by rogue parking management.’

    He explained: ‘When I rang Armtrac, at first a woman said I need to appeal and it might be sorted out. But the firm denied it later in the week, arguing it’s my fault for not entering the full plate number. It clearly states on the machine to enter the last “three digits”!’

    Mr Bellouere's appeal was rejected by parking contractor Armtrac Security Services, who said their terms and conditions state that drivers must display their whole number plate

    Mr Bellouere’s appeal was rejected by parking contractor Armtrac Security Services, who said their terms and conditions state that drivers must display their whole number plate

    Jane Rumney, 59, a teacher from Thornbury, Avon, told MailOnline: ‘I reckon thousands of holidaymakers must have been unfairly hit with a £100 fine by Armtrac. When we parked at the top car park at Sennen Cove over half term, it was packed.

    ‘There were hundreds of cars and they must all have been caught out by the same mistake.’

    Jane and her husband paid £4.50 to park for a full day at Sennen Cove.

    But she was shocked when a PCN fine arrived in the post ten days later.

    She said: ‘We parked at the hilltop car park at half term in early June. We had a lovely day on the beach.

    ‘But ten days later, I received a PCN through the post. I was shocked because I knew we had paid a ticket and issued the registration number as instructed.

    ‘I got the parking ticket from the car and called up Armtrac to explain that I had paid. I thought the fine would be dropped when I provided them with the details.

    ‘But Armtrac told me the appeal will be rejected because I didn’t follow the terms and conditions to provide your whole number plate. I was really confused and frustrated.

    Armtrac today apologised to customers for the 'honest mistake' - but haven't stated whether all those customers wrongly fined will be refunded their money

    Armtrac today apologised to customers for the ‘honest mistake’ – but haven’t stated whether all those customers wrongly fined will be refunded their money

    ‘I looked into this and managed to track down four or five other people this had happened to the week that we had been in Cornwall – including one who got a fine for a ticket purchased an hour before me.

    ‘I found one person who got three tickets there for one week, all with the same reason. I believe Armtrac must have issued thousands of unfair fines over half term.’

    Another victim, who gave his name as Robert, suffered the same fate.

    He explained: ‘I recently received a parking charge notice for £100 from Armtrac after having parking at Sennen Cove during half term.

    ‘The notice simply said failure to display a valid ticket. Luckily we still had the ticket on our dashboard so I appealed the charge and sent a scan of the ticket.

    ‘However this appeal was rejected because they stated that we had only entered the final three characters of the number plate, not the full number plate as required by the stated terms and conditions.’

    An Armtrac spokesman said: 'Upon further investigation regarding this matter, the incorrect payment instructions were left on the machine when it was installed recently at Mayon Green [Sennen Cove] for which we can only apologise'

    An Armtrac spokesman said: ‘Upon further investigation regarding this matter, the incorrect payment instructions were left on the machine when it was installed recently at Mayon Green [Sennen Cove] for which we can only apologise’

    Visitors to Rockpool beach near Hayle have also been unfairly fined.

    One complained: ‘Apparently the machine is “playing up”. But people are getting unfair PCNs.

    ‘Pub staff are well aware and it only lets you input three digits. They’ve raised it but nothing has been done by Armtrac.’

    Armtrac today apologised to customers for the ‘honest mistake’ – but haven’t stated whether all those customers wrongly fined will be refunded their money.

    A spokesman said: ‘Upon further investigation regarding this matter, the incorrect payment instructions were left on the machine when it was installed recently at Mayon Green [Sennen Cove] for which we can only apologise.

    ‘The machines don’t belong to Armtrac Security and after a conversation with the landowner, the details have now been removed from the machine. They also send their apologies.

    ‘This was an honest mistake made by the landowner and wasn’t intentional. All the other signage at the site has been updated to reflect the change and states that the full and correct vehicle registration number needs to be entered when making payment.’

    The company has not responded to further questions on how many have been fined or refunded.

    Mr Bellouere (pictured) said: 'These parking cowboys should have their contract revoked. We have been staying in Treen and St Just for 20 years now and it is the second time we've been done by rogue parking management'

    Mr Bellouere (pictured) said: ‘These parking cowboys should have their contract revoked. We have been staying in Treen and St Just for 20 years now and it is the second time we’ve been done by rogue parking management’