Geoff Pugh

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Geoff Pugh said he was only at the car park for 23 minutes

A motorist says he was “flabbergasted” to receive a £90 parking fine after taking a drive-through coronavirus test at a car park.

Geoff Pugh, 52, was handed the penalty after taking his wife and two children for swabs at Edmonton Green Shopping Centre in north London on 7 July.

He said they were at the site in Enfield for 23 minutes and “didn’t even leave the car the whole time”.

The company behind the fine said any issued “incorrectly” will be cancelled.

Photographer Mr Pugh, from Stoke Newington, east London, said: “At first I thought it was just a genuine fine, so I was about to pay it, but when I looked into where it happened and realised what it was, I was flabbergasted.

“I think it’s completely ridiculous to charge someone for looking after the health of their family, neighbours and work colleagues.”

His vehicle’s details had been logged – by a camera using number plate recognition – when it entered the car park. Then when it left without a parking ticket being bought in the meantime, that automatically triggered the fine.

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Drive-through test centres were introduced to ease pressure on health workers

A spokesman for Highview Parking, which issued the fine, said: “The car park terms and conditions and the pay-for-parking system and tariff are set by our client – we do not have any involvement in setting these rules, or indeed when they do or do not charge for parking.

“We cannot confirm whether or not the car park has been repurposed by Enfield Council, just that we have been asked to suspend enforcement activity on specific days and times where they have agreed to provide space for Covid testing. However, the car park is still being used for retail during this time.

“As these are specific dates, we rely on notification of those dates in advance.

Regarding the date of Mr Pugh’s visit, the company said: “We were only notified that the site had been used for Covid testing more than a week later, and penalty charge notices were already issued.

It added that fines “issued to visitors incorrectly on this or any other specified date where testing is taking place” would be cancelled.

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