Free panto tickets offered to families after their cars were locked in NCP car park when Sister Act ran over

The borough is offering free tickets to Sleeping Beauty for those whose cars were locked into the NC

The borough is offering free tickets to Sleeping Beauty for those whose cars were locked into the NCP car park. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Families whose cars were locked in an NCP car park in Ipswich after the first night of Sister Act at the town’s Regent Theatre have been offered a festive treat.

The borough council, which owns and runs the theatre, has offered them family tickets for the Regent’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty – with free parking thrown in.

We revealed yesterday that four families had their first-night trip to Sister Act spoiled when they returned to the NCP Tower Ramparts car park on Monday night just after 11pm to find a member of staff locking it up.

He refused to let them get their cars out of the park – forcing them to find other ways to get home.

The company has apologised to all those whose cars were trapped and has offered them compensation. It has also started an internal investigation to try to establish exaction what happened.

An NCP spokeswoman said: “We were incredibly unhappy to hear the reports of the way our customers were dealt with when they arrived back at the car park and asked a member of our team to keep the car park open past normal closing hours, to allow them to exit. This is not acceptable and against all the training and guidelines.”

Sister Act started 30 minutes late on the first night because of technical problems that had to be resolved – but subsequent performances ran to time.

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Ipswich council’s portfolio holder for culture Byony Rudkin was shocked to hear about the problems for some theatre-goers.

She said: “We want to offer them free family tickets to our pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, over Christmas. It must have been very frustrating for them to be stuck after the performance at the Regent.

“I know it was not one of our car parks but the show did overrun on opening night and we always want Regent customers to enjoy their night out.”

One of the families is already known by council officers, but the Regent has appealed to the other three to contact them on 01473 433100 or email

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