‘Inspirational’ vicar fined in Co-op car park

Rev Mark Edwards MBE
Rev Mark Edwards MBE

A vicar who received an MBE from the Prince of Wales for over a decade of volunteer work has spoken at his outrage after he received a parking fine from the Co-operative car park.

Rev Mark Edwards MBE, from Newcastle, has joined a long list of victims who have received parking fines from Civil Enforcement Limited, the company which operates the Langborne Road car park on behalf of the supermarket.

Despite purchasing a parking ticket for two hours, and leaving within that period, Rev Edwards said he still received a parking ticket from the company. Looking on the internet, he spotted the Gazette’s coverage of others who had fallen foul of this company.

The vicar, who trained alongside the current Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “What concerns me is it’s the Co-op that are using this company.

“They are supposed to be an ethical company, yet they are employing Civil Enforcement Ltd and it’s underhanded.”

To complain about the parking company, Rev Edwards said he contacted the chief executive of the Co-operative, but as yet has received no response.

The fine was received at the end of a two-week summer holiday in Whitby and Rev Edwards, who is also a volunteer community first responder for the ambulance service, said: “My first holiday in Whitby was soured by this whole experience. It was a fantastic two weeks but it just ruined it.

“We loved the town but this is totally out of order.”

Rev Edwards was hailed an inspiration in the 2010 New Years Honours list after turning his life around. He had been written off as a delinquent in his childhood and attempted to take his own life several times before ending up in a psychiatric hospital.

However, after finding the church he turned his life around and was awarded an MBE for voluntary work in his former parish of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

To confront his demons he wrote a book, entitled Tears in the Dark, which he hoped would inspire others to take responsibility for their lives.

Rev Edwards received the £90 fine as he had intended to use the 45 minutes free parking available in the car park.

However, he decided to stay in Whitby for longer and then purchased a two-hour parking ticket. The family left the car park within two hours, yet still received a CEL notice in the mail.