A WILTSHIRE man has pledged never to return to the Barge Inn at Bradford on Avon after receiving a £60 parking charge notice which has since rocketed to £170.

Account manager Danny Purnell visited the Frome Road pub on July 24 and spent just £2.95 on a diet coca cola while meeting friends.

Two weeks later the 24-year-old, from Broadmead, Trowbridge, received the £60 notice from Smart Parking Ltd despite having provided his vehicle registration number for a tablet sytstem at the bar.

He said: “I’m very unhappy because I thought I had sorted this three months ago. Now I’m having to spend more time on it.

“Following the initial letter, I contacted the Barge Inn, who instructed me that they could appeal/cancel the parking charge notice provided I supplied evidence of me being a customer of the pub on the day that the PCN was issued.

“The Barge Inn advised me not to pay as they would sort this, but I have now received letters from Debt Recovery Plus pursuing me for £170 as I have not paid the initial charge.”

The Barge Inn told Mr Purnell in an email that they were happy to assist him in getting Birmingham-based Smart Parking to retract the notice.

It said: “Do not pay but please reply to this email with the ticket reference number and some proof that you visited the pub ie bank transfer or receipt.”

Mr Purnell supplied the Barge Inn with proof of purchase evidence from his bank statement that he had spent £2.95 while visiting the pub so they could appeal.

He said: “This has baffled and frustrated me as this case should surely be closed? If the appeal was unsuccessful, why was I not made aware to then pay the initial £60 fine?

“If they failed to appeal my case, after advising me not to pay, will they be paying the now £170 to Debt Recovery Plus?

“I only received one letter before this being passed onto Debt Recovery Plus. The debt recovery company has since sent me a further two letters, the latest dated October 7.

“I now have until October 21 to pay the charge, otherwise they will advise Smart Parking to proceed with court action.

“It has certainly put me off going back to the pub. I haven’t been back since,” said Mr Purnell, who works remotely for a marketing company in Winchester.

“I am not afraid to take this further, as this is frankly ridiculous and should have been sorted three months ago.”

Smart Parking had not responded to a request for a comment as the Times went to print.

A manager at the Barge Inn said they introduced the system last year to stop customers abusing their car park.

He added: "If the customer provides us with proof that he was a patron, the charge will be automatically cancelled.

"It may be there is a crack in the system, or that it is a late cancellation. We will contact Smart Parking to check."

There are prominent signs in the car park saying regulations apply and parking is only for customers.

The pub’s owners also operate the Hare & Hounds at Corsham and own the Crown Inn on the A4 at Giddeahall near Chippenham.