A SIGNAGE mix up which led a pensioner being fined £200 has been compared to "being mugged on the street".

Multiple motorists have been shocked to start the year with parking charge notices demanding payment for a fine for "unauthorised parking" at the Morfa Hall library car park in Rhyl over Christmas - despite following what they thought were instructions for

Confusion arose as signs at the site, which has two separate car parks - one to the front managed by Denbighshire County Council and one to the rear operated by private firm Smart Parking Limited - are alleged to have been unclear on which meter to use to park.

Further complicating the charges, the council also ran a 'Free After Three' scheme from November 21 until New Year's Eve, in all of their car parks in county, adding further signs next to all of their pay and display machines.

Regular uses of the library, pensioners Eileen and John Collins, both 72 of Kinmel Bay, received two fines of £100 each for parking after 3pm.

Mrs Collins said: "They've penalised anyone parking there, wrongly even though there were signs for free parking.

"It's like we're being mugged on the street, we feel like we've been robbed for £200. It's disgusting, an absolute disgrace.

Also receiving a notice, Andrea Piddock of Stoke-on-Trent - who runs two holiday caravans at Sunnyvale Park - was fined £100 after paying for the private carpark through the wrong meter.

Mrs Piddock said: "I know I paid at the meter, which is the only one we could see, as we usually have a disabled badge for my mother and I remember having to park in the non-disabled spaces as I had forgotten it.

"I'm really angry about this, the letter states the fee isn't extravagant, but given that paying for parking was a pound, how can they justify asking for £100?"

Mrs Piddock has appealed against the charges. However, this could lead to additional charges.

Mrs Piddock added: "I'm a law abiding citizen, receiving letters like this really frightens me so I don't know whether just to pay it rather than risk further charges."

Following complaints that the council and Smart Parking have "duped" the public, county councillor Brian Blakeley is calling on private company to reimburse the fines.

Cllr Blakeley, who has been approached by four of his residents, said: "This is absolutely disgraceful, the signage simply wasn't good enough.

"Residents were caught out because they could park after 3pm for free, and had no idea which metre to use.

"I feel residents have been duped, and that the company should reimburse anyone who has been fined wrongly as a gesture of goodwill."

A spokesman for the council said: “We have been made aware of some recent issues at this car park. We have contacted both the car park owner and the car park operator to ask them to apply leniency and common sense to this situation.

“They have asked recipients of the fines to contact them as they need to follow the formal appeal process but have suggested to us they are aware of the potential complications given the close proximity of the Denbighshire-owned car park to their own car park and will take this into account when considering appeals.

“We have also asked them to review their signage and we intend to do the same to reduce the potential for any future confusion.”

It is understood that on Friday, January 11, some work has been done at the site to improve the signage.

Smart Parking Limited have been approached for comment.