A COUPLE have hit out after spending hundreds of pounds on a city retail park - only to be slapped with a fine for staying too long.

John Edington and his wife Moira, of Oughterside, recently moved here from North Yorkshire. They decided to go shopping for a new kitchen and other appliances for their home at the Kingstown retail park, in Carlisle, when they were hit with the £60 penalty charge.

Mr Edington, who makes a point of shopping locally, described the fine from Premier Park Ltd as “morally wrong”.

He said it had been a genuine mistake, pointing out that as there are no parking charges in Yorkshire he didn’t think to look for any signage - or see any for that matter.

“Our philosophy is where we can to always shop local,” explained Mr Edington.

“We had an appointment at 10am in Homebase to plan our new kitchen having just bought our house. The planning took a couple of hours and then we stayed for some time after that to buy other items.

“We didn’t realise there was a time limit. It was a genuine error.”

When at Kingstown, the couple spent hundreds of pounds from stores to renovate their new home. In Homebase they spent nearly £360, and bought a new TV from Currys PC World costing £265.

Mr Edington appealed the fine on the basis it was a genuine mistake and planning had taken longer than anticipated.

He asked Premier Park Ltd to waive the fine on this occasion because the couple had clearly been making the most of the local shops, giving back to the local economy.

“We got the impression that they never give money back. It seems so unfair,” continued Mr Edington.

“It made me angry. To spend money with Homebase, a company that are going bust, well it’s helping them and their employees.

“People are going out trying to help the local community and this is how they are treating us.”

The 67-year-old was given two weeks to pay the fine, but in that time struggled to speak to anyone to discuss the issue.

He added: “I couldn’t get to speak to someone - it’s upsetting.

“It’s quite cold in the sense you only have two weeks to pay. It might be legally right, but it’s not morally right.

“I like face-to-face contact. I do not want to shop on the internet, but this is forcing us to.”

The appeal was rejected and the couple were given two options, one to pay the fine, or to appeal again to the ombudsman.

However, during any appeal the charge is not frozen and there is a risk of it rising to £100.

Mr Edington said he paid the fine because he did not want to take the risk of the fine increasing.

Premier Park Ltd have been contacted for a comment.