Dear Sir,

What is happening in this country? – How can one be fined for enjoying leisure time, having a coffee with a friend – in an underused cafe, with no pressure on it’s car park?

On June 25th – I met a friend that I hadn’t seen for some time, at the relatively new Costa Coffee cafe in Newton Aycliffe.

I am in my eighth decade and totally unused to getting out of my car to look skywards for penalty notices! I admit that I did not see any notice outside or inside the cafe.

We enjoyed a couple of coffee’s/cake and a good catch-up talk, it was lovely to relax and enjoy this leisure time.

We left after two hours and four minutes – totally unaware that there was a time limit of ninety minutes.

I duly received a ‘Parking Notice Charge’ from Civil Enforcement Ltd, a fine for £100 or £60 if paid within 14 days. To say that I was shocked and incensed would be an understatement.

I appealed to this company and to Costa (who declined all responsibility) and then to POPLA (Parking On Private Land Appeals) all to no avail.

My natural inclination would be to let them take me to court/jail – but I fear that again would fail and I would be responsible for their additional costs.

Big Brother has certainly arrived, again I ask, “What is happening to this country?”

Name & address supplied