Cricket fan caught out for £60 by sports club’s new parking rules

Martin Birtle with the parking ticket he was issued with at Seaton Carew Sports and Social Club, as he watched a cricket game. Picture by FRANK REID
Martin Birtle with the parking ticket he was issued with at Seaton Carew Sports and Social Club, as he watched a cricket game. Picture by FRANK REID

A cricket fan was caught out by a ground’s new parking enforcement that saw him pick up a fine.

Martin Birtle, 66, was surprised to be given the £60 penalty after he parked at Seaton Carew Sports and Social Club to support Seaton Cricket Club.

I think for a genuine fan it’s outrageous to be fined £60 just for turning up and watching a game of cricket

Martin Birtle

The ground, also known as Hornby Park, recently introduced new parking arrangements to deter visitors to the seaside resort using the venue to avoid new pay and display charges, introduced by the council this summer.

Visitors have to input their vehicle registration inside the club to prove they are genuine users.

Mr Birtle, who lives in Billingham, said he did not know about the change in policy and did not see new signs in the car park, off Elizabeth Way. He said: “I have been going to the ground for something like 40 years.

“For many years this was as an away player, but since my retirement from the playing side, I turn up now and then to watch a game.

“I had even been to the ground a few weeks earlier and so wasn’t expecting to see any signs.

“I think for a genuine fan it’s outrageous to be fined £60 just for turning up and watching a game of cricket.”

Mr Birtle says he was told every cricket club in the league has been written to about the changes.

But he said: “This was of no use to myself as I have no links with any of the clubs.”

No one from Hornby Park could be contacted for comment. But in a post on its Facebook page it says: “The sports and social committee have introduced member and visitors only [parking] to Hornby Park to combat the problem of people leaving their vehicles to avoid the new parking charges introduced in Seaton Carew.

“This decision has been taken to ensure all of our members and visitors can visit and there will be adequate space to park.”

It adds: “The car park has ample signage explaining the current situation, so please ensure you follow the correct procedure when visiting Hornby Park as the committee cannot overturn any fines that are issued.”