A driver fined for spending less than three minutes in a private car park has said he would rather go to prison than let the "parking scammers" win.
Despite having evidence he never entered a parking bay - because he wanted to read the terms and conditions first - Jeremy Dalton is now thousands of pounds out of pocket after fighting the fine.
Despite never having actually parked in a marked bay in the I Park Services Ltd car park on Jubilee Road in Wadebridge, Cornwall, Dalton was issued a fine after the visit in the summer of 2021.
He says he has been unable to contact the company and its legal team to discuss the charge and provide his evidence. He is now the subject of a County Court Judgement (CCJ).
Dalton, 50, said: "This is supposed to be a free country. I am ready to go to prison on the point of principle before I pay a penny to these scammers."
The IT worker, from Esher, Surrey, was holidaying with his family when he says he "had the misfortune" of being caught on camera in Wadebridge on 16 August 2021. Since then he has incurred thousands in costs appealing the penalty.
Dalton said: "Unfamiliar with the area and car park I stopped, not in any parking space, exited my vehicle and consulted the local signage to understand the regulations in effect.
"I am caught on camera, not in a paid parking space, but adjacent to a free customer parking space, for a total time of 172 seconds.
"Not all of that time was my vehicle stationary and I can be seen leaving the vehicle with the engine running and passengers inside and promptly returning and leaving the area having decided not to park. All of this is verified by the 'evidence' supplied by I Park Services Ltd and submitted to me by them."
On receiving a PCN Dalton "immediately" contacted the company but his objections were dismissed. He said he has been attempting to have "a sensible dialogue" with either I Park Services Ltd or its legal representatives since August 2021.
He continued: "I have responded faithfully to every letter they have sent to me and also contacted them by telephone after each correspondence. Both organisations have steadfastly refused to engage in any dialogue and are now, in my opinion, abusing legal process to try to bully me into paying a debt I simply do not owe."
In evidence presented by I Park Services it can be seen that Dalton does not park when he gets out to read the terms and conditions. He then drives away.
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Dalton added: "My vehicle was not parked and the only evidence presented is that it was in the vicinity of the operators parking spaces for a total of 172 seconds not all of which was the vehicle stationary. The vehicle is clearly seen not occupying any of the parking bays. "
Dalton now also has a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against his name despite claiming he never received a court claim letter. He has yet to have been able to attend the court to give his side of the story.
He added: "I have been harassed and fined by this unscrupulous organisation, in my case, without even parking. The next step is me hoping that the court finally allows me to defend the claim and to overturn the CCJ against me. Right now, I have been referred to credit agencies and haven’t even had any opportunity to put my side of the story to a judge.
"If I win and have the judgement overruled, I am minded to fight back against I Park Services Ltd for the expenses I’ve incurred, which I estimate to be in the region of £2,000."
I Park Services Ltd told Yahoo News UK they had no comment.
Devon and Cornwall Council has also been approached for comment.