DRIVERS have been left furious after being handed fines at a flagship health and leisure centre’s car park — despite its ticket machine being broken.

Visitors to Bolton One have slammed the ‘disgusting’ actions of parking wardens after picking up the fines last week when they were unable to obtain a parking ticket.

Bolton Council has now apologised for the mistake and said it will cancel any fines issued incorrectly, adding that it would establish with its contractor why the penalty notices were issued.

Tracey Pickersgill, who took her elderly father John to the centre on November 28, said: “We parked in a disabled bay and displayed his badge, but went to the machine and it was not in use.

“We went to reception, where a couple was already asking what we do.

“The lady on the desk said, ‘as long as you have your badge displayed you’ll be okay’.

“So my dad went to his appointment, but on returning to the car we had a parking fine on the windscreen.”

The fine was for £25, rising to £50 if left unpaid after seven days.

Ms Pickersgill, from Farnworth, has now contested the fine and has received assurances from Bolton Council staff that her appeal will be successful, but fears other motorists will have already accepted the penalty.

She added: “Next time if the machine is broken, then we will just have to cancel his appointment. My dad can’t walk very far, so I could not park further away.

“There was one man there who had two walking sticks, so I don’t know how he would have managed.

“I think it is disgusting. My dad is very upset about it. He will be 80 next year and doesn’t need this sort of thing happening when he goes for a check-up.

“We have been told that the fine will get overturned, but we should never have had to go through it in the first place.

“All of the cars around us had been issued fines too.

“It is extortion, it's just a money-making scheme because they know a lot of people will not bother to contest the fines.

“The wardens would have known that the machine was broken and no one could get a ticket, so they should never have issued the tickets at all.”

A council spokesman said: “We are sorry for any upset that has been caused and we are cancelling any fines that have been issued incorrectly.

“We are also speaking to our parking enforcement contractor NSL about why these fines were issued when the machine wasn’t working.”