Parking firm fines man who was being told his dad was dyingPA

A motorist who was being told by doctors that his dad was dying of cancer has been fined for parking for just one minute too long in the hospital car park.

Kevin Hodges came back to his car after a doctor had pulled him to one side for a personal chat one minute after his period of grace ran out, but was just in time to see the £60 parking fine slapped on his windscreen at the University Hospital of North Durham, in County Durham. His dad died just one week later.

The 52-year-old HGV driver, who had bought a ticket for an hour of parking, appealed to the firm that runs the car park, LDK Security Group - but instead of backing down they doubled the fine as he had missed the 14 day payment deadline.

He tried appealing to an ombudsman, but then received a letter demanding a £90 payment from a debt collection agency so decided to take it no further.

He told The Sun: "I've paid it now, but I'm sickened and disgusted.

"There's meant to be a five minute period of grace, I know that, I was just one minute over that and I'd had really bad news.

"I think it's a complete disgrace and I can't believe this company is allowed to operate near a hospital.

"They don't take into account people's personal circumstances, it's completely callous."

LDK refused to make an exception or relax the rules. Scott Brunning, the North East area manager for LDK said: "While I fully sympathise with Mr Hodges' circumstances, as I've lost family members through cancer myself, we cannot overturn the ticket because it was in breach of terms and conditions.

"There is a five minute period of grace after a ticket expired, but this had expired.

"I want to point out it is not a personal decision, it is based on the rules."