A pensioner has hit out at disabled parking charges in a main Bedford car park after being dealt a £60 fine.
Blue Badge holder Leslie Thurston, 80, parked in the disabled bays in the Harpur Centre car park believing they were free.
He returned two hours later to discover that he would have to pay a fine for parking without a ticket.
Mr Thurston, of Greenshields Road, Bedford, said: “We went into town to see the Bamberg festival.
“When I drove into the car park I could see there was a whole row of empty disabled parking bays.
“When we parked, we thought it was too good to be true.
“When we returned we discovered we had been fined £60 – that’s £30 per hour.”
Signs by the disabled bay point out charges are applicable – but Mr Thurston claimed the most visible large poster signs had only been put up since he was caught.
He said he would reluctantly pay the fine but added: “I would be interested to know if other people have been caught out like this, you should be given sufficient warning. You do expect it to be free.”
Disabled parking is free in all authority-run car parks but privately owned facilities are able to charge for the spaces.
A Harpur Centre spokesman apologised for “any convenience caused” and said the new signs have been in place for 18 months.
He added: “Signage is located above each disabled parking bay within the Harpur Centre public car park, which notifies drivers they must pay for the space as well as display a valid blue badge.”