ANGRY motorists are planning to report a private parking firm to police after two cases of alleged photograph tampering in Worcester.
Steve James, 23, of St Peter’s, Worcester, believes the time stamp on a photograph used as evidence to fine him in Diglis last December was doctored and says he has CCTV evidence to prove his case.
His claims mirror those of Rushwick mum Sarah Gashi, who is adamant the times on photographs of her car in Diglis in February were tampered with in order to issue a penalty notice.
And now the angry pair plan to report the national firm to police in Worcester, after UK Parking Control admitted some of its employees at a “small number of car parks” exploited a loophole in the photograph system to doctor time stamps.
Mr James, who claims he knows someone else who has been affected in the same way, said: “It is disgusting.
“One of the time stamped photographs of my car was allegedly taken at 7.36pm but I was at work at Tesco in St Peter’s until 8pm with my Vauxhall Corsa parked nearby.
“My manager and colleagues can vouch for this and I even accessed CCTV to prove that I wasn’t in Diglis at that time.
“I’m the sole user of the car, so unless someone stole my car, drove it to Diglis and then drove it back to Tesco, the photograph has been altered.
"The company sent lots of letters demanding payment to my grandparents’ house, where I used to live, and this really frightened them.
"They actually ended up paying the fine without telling me because they were so concerned a debt collector would be coming around after the letters.
Mr James, who now works as an estate agent and lives in St Peter’s, attempted to dispute the “bewildering” fine.
But UK Parking Control rejected his complaints, stating the time stamps cannot be altered, while independent appeals service POPLA refused to overturn the penalty.
His anger at the company has now been renewed after reading in the Worcester News about Mrs Gashi - who claims she was in Powick with her parents at the time her car was apparently photographed in Diglis - and hearing about UK Parking Control coming clean.
The firm made a public admission earlier this month, which relates to cases in Lincoln and does not refer to Worcester car parks, that time stamps had been altered.
The statement read: “We regret to confirm that a limited number of pictures of vehicles, at a small number of car parks, have had their time stamp altered by a few of our employees to make it appear as though the vehicles had over-stayed when this was not the case.
“We have taken this issue extremely seriously and will refund all potentially affected parking charges for over-stays issued by these employees to ensure that there is no room for error.
“We have never before had a problem of this nature, which runs contrary to the normally high standards of our business and the rigorous training of all our staff.
“We have taken steps to ensure that no further incidents of this nature can occur in the future.”
The Worcester News has been unable to contact UK Parking Control for confirmation on whether the practice of falsifying time stamps has been happening in Worcester or whether Mrs Gashi’s and Mr James' fines will be cancelled.
Alex Shipp, who campaigns as the Parking Prankster, told the Worcester News: “It appears this is another site where photographs are being doctored.
“UKPC now need to come clean and publish a full list of sites as well as an undertaking to have their data independently audited.”
Following exposure of the scandal, UK Parking Control is facing a probe from the City of London fraud squad and is being investigated by the British Parking Association.
A spokesman for West Mercia Police said affected motorists in Worcester should report their cases to Action Fraud in the first instance, which then may refer investigations back to local police.