MORE than 100 people have been issued with parking tickets after shopping at the new Marks & Spencer Foodhall in Trowbridge.

The new store opened at the Cradle Bridge Retail Park just over three weeks ago.

Parking at the site, which is managed by Smart Parking, is free for the first three hours but shoppers must still enter their vehicle registration into the machine and display a ticket. 

Customer Mandi Archer received a parking ticket earlier this week.

She said: “I received a parking penalty of £48 after staying for less than three hours.

“The signs are obviously not clear enough as this is happening to so many people.

“I don’t think there is any need for this ticket system. At Sainsbury’s your car is photographed going in and going out so they know if you have overstayed. 

“They’re just trying to make money out of people in any way they can.”

Christine Walker, who was visiting friends in Trowbridge, also received a £48 fine after shopping for just 37 minutes.

She said: “I later discovered there was a sign saying to display a ticket, but it was so high up we didn’t see it.

“I live in Canada and New Zealand and have never had to display anything at a supermarket for parking.

“Surely in this day and age they can simplify our grocery shopping and stop trying to rip people off.”

Over the past week M&S has arranged for Smart Parking to have an employee on duty to explain the system to shoppers.

Pheobe Bullock, store manager at M&S, said: “We want to ensure our customers have a good experience whenever they shop at our new store.

“We have shared our customers’ feedback about the car park with Smart Parking who are taking action.”

A spokesman from Smart Parking said: “We were brought in to stop parking abuse and to make sure genuine customers can always find somewhere to park. 

“There are 29 signs at the car park, which clearly highlight the terms and conditions of use, one of which is that to park for three hours for free you need to enter your registration number into a ticketing machine. 

“The vast majority of motorists use the system without any problems. 

“For those motorists who feel there are mitigating circumstances in their cases, we operate an appeals process and would encourage them to use it.”