WHEN Tim Rombach picked up his partner Julie at Chippenham railway station last year he got slapped with a £100 fine for parking.

Except he says he didn't park his Volvo but simply drove in to pick up his partner Julie using the 20 minute grace period which is part of the owner APCOA's terms and conditions.

"I drove in but Julie said the train would be late," he said, "so I drove straight out without parking and returned later, went shopping and when I knew the train was arriving drove back and picked her up.

"However according to APCOA Parking who lease the carpark from GWR he didn't leave in between his first arrival and so slapped him with a £100 fine.

On appeal to Parking on Private Land Appeals, (POPLA) they produced two images from their cameras which they said proved he didn't leave on the evening of October 26.

However Mr Rombach, an electronics engineer at Siemans insists this was not the case.

He said: "APCOA allow users a grace period for the purpose of picking up and dropping off.

"However the grace period is not detailed on the car park signs because there is no requirement for it to be.

"Users have no way of knowing when they are in breech of the terms and conditions of parking meaning that a parking fine may be issued to them.

"This is particularly the case if a train is late or delayed and you risk waiting for it without leaving the car park and returning later.

"However, as in my case leaving and returning provides no assurance that you will not receive a parking fine."

The Gazette requested a comment from APCOA.

Could the cameras have been faulty, was it too dark or was Mr Rombach was tailgated as he left the first time thus blocking out the view of his car were possible explanations.

The firm did not reply at time of going to press.