Engineer challenges car park 'highwaymen' over fine while he posted a letter

A RETIRED engineer has vowed to take on a car parking firm over a £40 parking charge imposed when he left a shopping centre to post an urgent letter.

Dr Johannes Grabsch says he felt like a victim of modern day "highwaymen" when he returned to his ticketed car at Crown Point car park in Leeds.

He had parked intending to shop at Staples but decided to post a letter nearby and then go back to the stationery store.

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He had not realised that "walking immediately off the site" broke the parking rules.

Dr Grabsch, 62, who believes he was monitored on CCTV as he left the car park, says he won't be paying the fine – which rises to 80 after two weeks – and will see the company in court, if necessary.

He has branded the parking company's rules as "exploitation" and claimed that it would never happen in his native Germany.

Dr Grabsch, whose wife Heike is a cancer researcher and lecturer in Leeds, said: "We have lived here in Leeds now for 11 years and like the people and countryside in Yorkshire, but we are still amazed about the level of exploitation over here. A case like this would be unheard of back in Germany."

He added: "What is wrong with leaving the site, only to return to do the shopping?

"The terms and conditions are not clearly shown on a large visible sign at the entrance. Even if terms and conditions were stated somewhere, I cannot see any violation of a contract."

A spokeswoman for Sheffield-based Excel Parking Services urged Dr Grabsch to appeal against the parking ticket in writing, even though it was clear that it had been correctly issued.