A tourist to Llangrannog has been fined £100 for overstaying in the town’s car park - when his car had a flat tyre.

John Sturgis, 56, was visiting from London in May. Having paid £2 to park for an hour he discovered the tyre problem when he returned. This saw him staying over his allotted time by a few minutes, he says. Despite appealing to the ticket issuer and to an independent adjudicator he has still been forced to pay.

Mr Sturgis, a journalist, told the Cambrian News: “We were visiting friends who live just inland from the Cardiganshire coast. After an invigorating Sunday afternoon clifftop walk at Cwmtydu Cove, we drove around to the Llangrannog. It’s a town I’ve known for many years and have always been fond of and was looking forward to revisiting.

“But since my last visit they have new parking arrangements. I paid £2 to park for an hour and we then strolled around the town and the beach, went for a drink at the Pentre Arms and so on.

“I then got back to the car with five minutes of my hour to spare – only to find I had a flat.

“Closer examination revealed that as I had driven into the town I had stabbed the rear passenger-side tyre with a sharp rock when I had pulled tight to the walls of the narrow approach to allow another car to pass.

“After various phone calls and huddles with some helpful passersby it became apparent that I was going to struggle to get assistance on a Sunday. So I managed to get some filler foam and enough air into it to drive the few miles back to our friends’ place and leave the problem to sort out the next day, a Monday, when the garages would be open.

“A parking ticket arrived by post the following weekend. I’d been filmed entering – and leaving late: some 12 minutes of my total stay had not been paid for.

“For this the fine was £100 – or £50 if I agreed to pay quickly. I wrote to the company, One Parking Solutions, expecting that once I explained what had happened they would waive the fine. But to my dismay they just rejected the appeal.

“I then appealed to the independent adjudicator, Popla. They were sympathetic. They even asked the company to reconsider but they declined.”

The adjudication explains: “After reviewing the circumstances, I have referred the case back to the parking operator to ask it to consider cancelling the PCN. It is the parking operator’s decision whether to cancel a PCN or not.”

Mr Sturgis went on: “It’s crazy that this company is marking its own homework in effect. The adjudicator accepts it’s not fair but has no power to do anything other than ask them to reconsider which they refuse.

“They now say you are allowed a 10 minute grace period in circumstances like this but it doesn’t explain this on the signage. And I’d already overstayed by the time the question of parking tickets occurred to me - so I didn’t even think of putting another £2 in the machine.

“In one of the photos they took of my car in the carpark, a blue Skoda, you can see there are no other vehicles in the picture - it wasn’t like the car park was even remotely busy so I didn’t stop someone else parking. They’re just taking this money from me because they can. I think business owners in the town will be dismayed to learn that this is how visitors are being treated. We bought food, drinks, a couple of things in the shops - and this is how we get rewarded. It’s awful.”

One Parking Solutions have been contacted for comment.