A WOMAN says she was hit with an £80 parking fine after shopping for a vulnerable friend.

Michelle Savage was getting food and essentials for her friend who has been shielding due to her medical conditions making her extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

This was the first time Ms Savage had been to Asda’s Darwen branch on School Street in some years and she was alarmed to find that parking time had been reduced from two hours to one hour.

She said: “I parked next to Asda, as usual, and did the shopping, also popped into Iceland next door.

“I’ve now received an £80 fine as the parking time had been reduced to an hour from two hours, and I had been 90 minutes.

“How can the time be reduced when we have to queue to get in, socially distance inside, and self check out?”

The Asda car park is a privately enforced space, it is not the responsibility of the local authority.

However, a council spokesperson said that alternative parking can be found on the Darwen Market car park which is free for three hours, or all day with a blue badge.

Asda meanwhile has said that the change to parking time has been in place for several years and that the company has done its best to make stores accessible despite the pandemic.

Ms Savage however, has pointed out that shopping remains far more difficult than usual in the current climate, especially for people who are doing their best to help others who have been forced to shield and as such businesses should take a more lenient and understanding attitude towards parking.

This is especially the case given that she believes people should be encouraged when helping those in need. She said: “A normal shop would be quick, but these extra safety measures increase the time taken to do anything. It will cost £40 if I pay quickly, but why?

“Those who are helping others may stop if it's going to cost £40 to do this.”