SINN Féin’s Daithí McKay has acted on a “surge of complaints” about ‘private car parking tickets’ being issued in Ballycastle.
Mr McKay said: “Our party office in Dunloy has been inundated with constituents seeking advice on the issue of private parking companies sending out letters demanding a ‘fine’ be paid, even though the people were unaware there was any ‘charges’ in operation where they were parking.
“I have written to the head office of the Co-operative supermarket chain, whose carkparks are most commonly mentioned, with regards this; Civil Enforcement Ltd - the English company issuing the statements; the PSNI and Trading Standards on this issue.
“I want to emphasis to people that these are not ‘fines’ they are in fact invoices from private companies who have no right to enforce parking notices. As such, I strongly encourage people to seek advice from either our office, or from Citizens Advice before handing over one penny to these companies.
“To date, not one single case has gone to the small claims court. I have also been told by constituents of frankly completely incorrect ‘information’ being included in the demand, where they have been nowhere near the area when told they incurred a ‘fine’.
“Again, I stress that these are not fines issued by local government or the any public body and I encourage anyone with any questions to telephone our local Sinn Féin office on 27657198”.
A spokesperson for The Co-operative said: “Parking restrictions at our stores were introduced as a response to complaints from customers who had difficulty parking. A significant number of drivers were abusing our car parks by parking for lengthy periods, or even all day.
“Civil Enforcement Limited operates the car park at our Ballycastle store on behalf of The Co-operative. We have an appeals procedure for anyone who feels a parking fine has been issued unfairly or in error.
“We believe the vast majority of our customers are in favour of the restrictions, which allow them to park and to shop.”