Christmas shopper makes donation after £187 parking fine

Mark Stone from Harwich had to pay £187 to get his car back from an Ipswich car park

Mark Stone from Harwich had to pay £187 to get his car back from an Ipswich car park - Credit: Mark Stone

A Christmas shopper hit with a £190 parking charge has got his money back - and promptly donated it to charity. 

While visiting Ipswich on a Saturday Christmas shopping trip last month, Mark Stone, 49, parked his car in the Britannia car park off Civic Drive. 

He bought some gifts for loved ones, had dinner with a few friends - and then returned at 7pm to drive home, only to find that his car had been locked in an hour before the car park was advertised to shut. 

After 11 failed attempts to get through to the car park management company on the phone, he took the train home to Harwich. 

When he returned to get his car out on Monday, November 22, he was charged £187 and made contact with this paper following no response.

Now several weeks after reaching out, Mr Stone received a payment from Britannia for £210.50  - including the parking charge and the cost of his train fares. 

The 49-year-old said he is glad there is a happy ending to the events and on December 15,  donated the total repayment to Children in Need. 

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Mr Stone said: "I give money to charity at Christmas anyway and thought it was a good one to support, especially as BBC - along with EADT - involvement got me in contact with the chief executive of Britannia. 

"Thank goodness common sense won out. 

"I just keep wondering how many other people got caught out on the same day. 

"I did ask Britannia if they also wanted to make a donation, but haven't heard back about that. 

"I'm glad the story has a happy ending, especially for Children in Need." 

The motorist had been unable to locate any parking attendants as the spiral car park is unmanned.

The £187 charge encompassed the fine for parking overnight and fees for the time he spent there. 

At the time, Mr Stone said: "Britannia should stick to their operating times and not close car parks early thereby holding cars hostage and people stranded."

This year, Children in Need raised more than £39m. 

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