PARKING is a thorny issue in York. There never seem to be enough spaces - and there are often complaints about how expensive it is to use the spaces that there are.

Car parks, whether privately or publicly owned, have a perfect right to charge motorists who use them, however - and to seek to fine those who flout the parking rules.

That said, Minster Baywatch might today be wishing they’d been a little more forgiving in the case of an elderly man who stopped for a few minutes in the company’s car park in Wigginton Road.

The man, who does not wish to be named, had just come from York Hospital, where his wife had been diagnosed with cancer.

Confused and upset, he sat in his car in the car park for 17 minutes without having bought a ticket while he tried to pull himself together.

Cameras snapped his number plate and he was automatically fined.

He paid - but his family subsequently appealed, explaining the circumstances. Unfortunately, Minster Baywatch rejected the appeal, saying the fact he had paid demonstrated that he accepted he had been wrongly parked.

To give Minster Baywatch its due, the company subsequently changed its mind, refunded the fine, and made a personal apology - but only after the man’s family had gone public.

How much better it would have been for all concerned if the company had shown just a little humanity in the first place and refunded the fine as soon as they learned of the full circumstances.