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1/6/2006
UK Supermarket Chain Deploys Its Own Ticket Cameras
Tesco, the UK's top supermarket chain, is deploying cameras to mail automated tickets to anyone they claim has overstayed in their lot.

Tesco parking lot
Tesco, the UK's top supermarket chain, is using cameras to mail £70 (US $124) parking tickets to anyone it claims has parked in a Tesco lot for more than two hours. The automated system records the license plate of every car entering the lot and will eventually be tied into the proposed government system that tracks the movements of individual vehicles in real-time. Accused violators will receive a ticket in the mail weeks later.

The system is not without its problems, however. A woman who entered the parking lot on two separate visits received a £170 fine (US $300) because the system had assumed she was parked there the entire day.

Tesco claims it will give ticket profits to charity, but the private company that runs the camera system is one of many that does so for private financial gain. These companies offer parking lot management services to supermarkets at no cost in return for a significant cut of the citation. The management companies often send motorists letters threatening court action if immediate payment is not made. Member of Parliament Norman Baker has called for an investigation of the practice.

Source: Tesco spy camera focused on long-stay parkers (Hertfordshire Mercury, 1/6/2006)

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