A VETERAN charity collector who has been slapped with two parking fines along with her colleagues says they have “no intention of paying” them.

Valerie Kruse, 72, of Brightlingsea, spends a lot of time in Clacton collecting on behalf of Marie Curie at Morrison’s supermarket, in the Waterglade Retail Park.

The shopping facility’s car park is run by Smart Parking, which recently installed registration recognition cameras and only permits people to stay for two hours.

It has led to shoppers complaining about being fined, including Malcolm Carroll, 69, who got a ticket despite leaving straight away.

Ms Kruse and two retired volunteers have now fallen victim to rule changes, which she says is unfair, given the fact they were collecting donations for charity.

Between them they currently have £400 worth of fines which are outstanding, but Ms Kruse says the group is determined not to buckle.

“I have been collecting on behalf of Marie Curie at this Morrison’s store for quite a few years, and I have never had a problem with parking before,” she said.

“When booking in at reception, we are given a numbered pass for our cars, but as I had one left in my car from my previous collection, I thought that would suffice.

“But at no time did anyone mention to me that the parking rules had been changed, so I was shocked when I received two fines through the post.

“I have written to Smart Parking, but they are not interested that I am a pensioner who was fundraising for one of the country’s favourite charities.

“The people of Clacton have always been incredibly supportive, and we have no intention of paying these fines given the circumstances of our visits.”

The generous community champion has now called on Smart Parking to ditch its current system, in favour of a pay-and-display machine instead.

As Waterglade Retail Park is also home to Iceland, Next, Halfords, and B&M, Ms Kruse believes the two-hour time limit is simply not long enough.

“There is a lot of angry people I know who are now considering shopping elsewhere because two hours is an insufficient time to shop at this centre,” she said.

“I don’t get why Smart Parking can’t looking into adopting a pay-and-display rather than this underhand way of collecting funds?”

A spokesman for Smart Parking says the company has sympathy for the Ms Kruse and the other charity collectors, but will not be wavering the fine.

"Smart Parking was brought into manage the car park at the Waterglade Retail Park to stop parking abuse and ensure genuine customers, including those who shop at Morrisons, can always find somewhere to park. 

"We do this by using a state of the art ANPR system that monitors cars entering and exiting the car park. 

"All customers are given 2 hours of free parking, and there are numerous signs across the car park that clearly state these terms and conditions. 

"In the case of all of these motorists they parked for well over 2 hours, so even though we have sympathy for them, they were all correctly issued charges. 

"Unless you have made separate arrangements with the car park operator or via the retailer whose premises you are visiting, a charge may be issued if you overstay."