A PENSIONER fined for taking too long to shop with his walking frame has thanked the Echo after his parking ticket was cancelled.

Robert Green, 82, fell foul of the 90-minute parking rule at the Lidl in Woodgrange Drive, Southend, by eight minutes.

But after the Echo approached Lidl, and car park management company Athena, both agreed to waive the £90 charge.

Mr Green, of Lifstan Way, said: “You used to be able to park in there for three hours for free.

“I take longer to get around the shops and I use a walking frame.

“I have had three spine operations.

“On this particular day, I was having trouble finding all of the bits I needed and I was doing a big shop.

“So I had no idea I had been in the store that long. But the time it takes to leave the car park also has to be included.

“I was shocked to learn you now only get an hour-and-a-half in there before you are hit with a £90 fine.

“It shouldn’t be allowed.

“I went back to Lidl afterwards who told me it’s nothing to do with them.

“I then got talking to another customer who said she had also ‘been done’ but paid it because of Athena’s threats to send bailiffs.

“They can’t do that - I told her she should not have paid it. I want to warn others to be careful.”

The Echo contacted both companies.

A spokesman for Lidl said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and can confirm that as soon as we learnt of this, steps were taken to cancel the customer’s parking charge notice.

“Lidl has car park management systems in place where car parks are subject to abuse.

“The 90 minute parking restriction has been in place at this site since August 2017.

“This is for the sole purpose of managing the availability of car parking spaces in order to prevent misuse and ultimately to ensure that customers, like Mr Green, take priority and have spaces available to use.”

A spokesman for Athena said: “It’s disappointing when we learn that a genuine customer has wrongfully received a fine.

“In the highly unfortunate event that this does happen, we encourage them to get in touch with Athena ANPR directly so that the charge can be cancelled as swiftly as possible for them.”

Mr Green said: “I am very happy with that.

“I am glad I went to the Echo because what they did was wrong.”