Police investigating official complaint from Hemel Hempstead MP over parking fines at Harvester

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Police are investigating a complaint from an MP about a car parking firm which has dished out fines to diners of a Harvester restaurant in Hemel Hempstead.

A number of customers at The Mallard restaurant, in London Road, received fines for using the car park – after problems with the electronic management system.

Thousands of pounds of fines have since been issued by the car park’s operators APM (Absolute Parking Management) – prompting MP Mike Penning to ask police to launch an investigation.

Following a meeting with Harvester brand owners Mitchells and Butlers on Monday, Mr Penning claimed the tickets were issued by APM in an attempt to ‘embarrass’ Harvester after it terminated a contract with the parking firm on November 11.

He also alleged that the stream of parking fines issued over Christmas and the New Year dated back to July – although APM have refuted each of these claims.

Mr Penning exclusively told the Gazette: “I had a very positive meeting, and as a result of information that has been provided to me by Harvester, I have contacted the police and asked them to investigate whether any fraudulent activity has taken place.”

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: “Officers will be investigating a complaint regarding parking enforcement practices in the car park at The Mallard.”

Responding to the allegations, an APM spokesman said: “We are currently in a legal dispute with Mitchells and Butlers and can therefore not comment any further at this stage, save to say we refute the allegations being made.”