COACH companies which help boost tourism in Bexleyheath say there are being driven out of the town by faulty ticket machines.

Ann’s Eurostays and C.L.T.C Ltd have brought in bus loads of tourists from all over Europe for the past 25 years.

Up to 10 ten coaches a night from the Bexley-based firms use Oaklands Car Park.

But Ann Chambers, 70, who runs Ann’s Eurostays, says her drivers are threatening to steer clear of Bexleyheath because they keep getting fined - despite the machines not working.

She told News Shopper: "They’re trying to pay but the machines have been covered up and their foreign credit cards aren’t accepted.

"My drivers are threatening not to come back - if they don’t, that’s my business down the drain.

"Don’t forget this is our livelihood. We’re trying to earn a crust of bread."

For around two weeks the pay and display booths in Oaklands Car Park were covered up and around six drivers slapped with a £65 fine.

Stella Hines, who runs Sidcup-based coach company C.L.T.C Ltd, has also had trouble with the 136-space car park.

She said: “Each year we’re bringing business to Bexleyheath and helping the area but the council don’t seem bothered.

“We want to know where we stand and what’s happening.”

A Bexley Council spokesman said there is coach parking available in the Nags Head Car Park in Welling and signs will be put up in Oaklands Car Park shortly to inform motorists.

She said: “We are sorry some coach drivers have experienced difficulties when using Oaklands Car Park recently.

“Repairs to the pay and display machines are carried out as soon as possible once we have been made aware of any faults.

"Unfortunately, the supplier of our phone and pay service, Bemrose Booth, is not able to process foreign registered payment cards.

“We would be happy to come to an arrangement with any foreign coach drivers to pay in advance, if they contact us.”

A BemroseBooth spokesman says the firm now accepts international credit and debit cards, and businesses across Bexley can pay for parking in advance.

For more information phone 01727 229 226.