AS a blue badge holder, disabled Keith Young is used to being able to park for free in Wrexham.

So when the ex-serviceman decided to shop at the Eagles Meadow complex, he followed his usual routine.

The 71-year-old left his van in the multi-storey car park but did not buy a ticket, instead leaving his blue disabled badge on display.

But when he came back 40 minutes later he was shocked to discover he had picked up a £70 penalty fee.

Mr Young, of Garden Village, is paralysed down one side following a brain haemorrhage and has to walk with the aid of a stick.

He claims he has spent the past six months locked in a war of words with the car park’s operator, Vinci Park, since the incident in January.

He is attempting to have the penalty dropped and says it has now got to the stage where the company is threatening to pass the matter on to a debt collection agency.

Mr Young, who served in trouble-spots around the world during 25 years as a diver with the Royal Navy, said: “They’re not getting any money from me - I’d rather go to prison first.

“Is this the country I fought for in places like Suez, Cyprus and the Persian Gulf?

“This was the first time I had been to Eagles Meadow and thought I’d have a quick look around the shops.

“With a disabled blue badge you can park without paying at the council car parks in the town, so when I got out of my van I had a good look to see if there were any notices up saying the disabled have to pay but there were none.

“That’s why I didn’t buy a ticket. But when I got back to the van I found there was a £70 penalty.”

He added: “To me, not having any signs up about disabled parking is a way for the company to get £70 out of someone rather than just a few pounds for parking.

“I will fight this all the way.”

A spokeswoman for Wrexham Council confirmed no charge is made to holders of disabled badges using its car parks.

A statement from Vinci Park said terms and conditions of parking at Eagles Meadow are displayed in the car park.

It continued: “We are very sorry to hear about Mr Young’s concerns. We urge anyone with a complaint to contact us directly if they wish to appeal a parking ticket;
we can then carry out a full investigation and take the appropriate action.

“We look forward to hearing from Mr Young so this matter can be resolved.”

Penalty charges at the Eagles Meadow car park made headlines earlier this year.

In February the Leader reported how shopper Tony Brooke won a reprieve from the £70 penalty he picked up after his parking ticket fell face-down inside his car.