Big brother checks on car parks

SUPERMARKET customers are to be spied on in a big brother-style scheme to ensure motorists park their cars only to use the store.New technology, expected to have cost thousands of pounds, will be installed at the Tesco supermarket, at Copdock, so staff can monitor those who visit the grounds.

SUPERMARKET customers are to be spied on in a big brother-style scheme to ensure motorists park their cars only to use the store.

New technology, expected to have cost thousands of pounds, will be installed at the Tesco supermarket, at Copdock, so staff can monitor those who visit the grounds.

Anyone staying too long will be issued with a warning and if they get caught more than once a £70 parking fine will be coming their way.

Spy cameras will be fixed to the entrances of the store and will scan number plates of all the cars that enter and leave the car park.

The cars can then be monitored to check the duration of the owner's stay to ensure they are not using the grounds as free parking for elsewhere such as the Park and Ride scheme in the area.

The cameras will be linked to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency so any that stay longer than three hours will be issued with a warning letter to the registered address of the vehicle.

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Any cars which stay longer than three hours on more than one occasion will be issued with a £70 parking ticket when the scheme starts on May 4.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We have been forced to introduce this system because customers often cannot find a space in our car park.

“The abuse of our car park is not generally by people from the nearby area. The main problem seems to be by passengers who leave their cars to pick up a coach from the grounds and people who meet up in our car park and go off in other vehicles, leaving their own cars behind.”

The scheme will be the first of its kind in the area, however, Tesco have used it for stores elsewhere in the country which have problems with the car parks.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council, which runs the Park and Ride scheme, said: “When the site is full we have our car park attendants stand at the entrance to tell people they can't get in.

“If people choose to turn away rather than wait for a space we categorically tell them not to park anywhere else on the retail site and that we will not be responsible for anything that may happen to their car should they choose to do so.

“As the sites are in communication with each other we will offer them directions to the Bury Road or Martlesham schemes if spaces are free there.

“We suspect that the problem Tesco is having is more to do with coach trips where people going off for the day on a coach can be picked up from Tesco. Many of them will drive up and leave the car there all day.”

What do you think of the new scheme? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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