South Shields mother left shocked after receiving parking fine for going over time limit due to breastfeeding baby son

A South Shields mother was left shocked after receiving a parking fine for going over the allotted time in a supermarket car park due to breastfeeding her son.

Katie Sim, 31, visited the South Shields Home Bargains store in September unaware there were time limits to the parking, which is controlled by private firm, Parkingeye.

After visiting Home Bargains, Katie unknowingly went over the time limit of one hour 30 minutes due to breastfeeding her four month old son, Bobby.

After appealing the fine of £60 and explaining the circumstances, Katie was left furious at the manner in which the parking company rejected her appeal, saying it didn’t fit the criteria for an appeal and asking for evidence to support her claim.

Katie Sim and her son Bobby

She said: “I was really upset with the manner in which they rejected my appeal after I explained the circumstances. The signage was poor and I didn’t know there was a restricted time to stay but the way they worded the appeal upset me the most and I found it very disrespectful.”

“There’s nothing more important than feeding your child. Bobby is my second child I’ve breastfed and I think there’s still a stigma around breastfeeding in public.

"I know a lot of people who feel reluctant to breastfeed in public but I think it’s important to have support out there and not feel embarrassed to do it if needed.”

After being contacted for a comment by the Gazette, Parking Eye cancelled the fine as ‘a gesture of goodwill’.

Home Bargains, South Shields

A Parkingeye spokesperson said: “The car park at Home Bargains in South Shields is monitored by ANPR camera systems and has prominent and highly-visible signs throughout displaying the terms and conditions of the parking facilities.

“The motorist parked for longer than the maximum stay period of 1 hour and 30 minutes and therefore received a Parking Charge Notice. However following a review of the circumstances we have cancelled the charge as a gesture of good will.

“Parkingeye operates a BPA (British Parking Association) audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their Parking Charge Notice. If anyone has mitigating circumstances, we would encourage them to highlight this by appealing. All motorists are also entitled to a further appeal via POPLA, the independent body which reviews all cases.”

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue telling South Tyneside’s stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe - and click here to get a snapshot of the Gazette’s news and sport to your inbox through our email newsletters.