An elderly lady has been slapped with a fine for parking in a car park despite having a ticket for her stay.

Sylvia Bradford, 70, left her car in Erith Riverside Shopping Centre car park, Erith, for 37 minutes as she went away to do her shopping on August 17.

Mrs Bradford, who lives in Winchelsea Avenue, Bexleyheath, assumed she had got her ticket correctly, but has since been fined £60 for allegedly breaking terms and conditions.

Instead of entering a zero into the parking machine, the pensioner entered the letter 'O' - a mistake she said would be common to make.

She said: "We have put in an appeal. It's a great deal of effort. They have machines with pale yellow letters on a silver background. I'm sure loads of people have made a mistake like this, you know.

"I got a ticket for three hours. I always park there if I'm shopping and I kept the ticket. I can't believe they rejected the appeal.

"My husband blew his fuse. This really does take the biscuit. It seems ridiculous. It's common sense."

News Shopper:

Mrs Bradford said she was shocked when she got a letter telling her she had a fine. [Stock image]

Mrs Bradford said the situation was made even more annoying by the fact that the car park is free to park in.

The only condition is that drivers get a ticket and enter their registration correctly.

Smart Parking Limited, which manages the car park, said in a letter seen by News Shopper that it was sticking by its decision to issue the fine.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “Smart Parking manages the car park at the Riverside Shopping Centre in order that all users have an equal chance to park.

"There are clear signs across the site that highlight the terms and conditions of use and included is the condition that motorists must enter their full, correct vehicle registration when making payment. Smart Parking are members of the British Parking Association and strictly follows its guidelines.

"We make clear to all motorists that if they that disagree with our decision they can contact the independent industry Ombudsman POPLA. Any final decision taken by POPLA we will abide by.”

Mrs Bradford said she would be taking the case further to POPLA, despite the fact this will mean her fine will be upped to £100.

She said: "I wonder how many other people have done this, it seems like a very pernickety thing to have happened. I won't be parking there again."

Dozens of people have spoken of their shock at Mrs Bradford's situation. 

One commenter said: "It is not fair to fine somebody for one small mistake. In fact it is disgraceful and they should apologise and scrap the fine."

Another said: "Bet half of drivers with a 0 or an O in their number plate don’t know whether it’s a number or a letter! 

"Disgusting behaviour from the parking management company!"