A 'FAILED' parking scheme that fined drivers tens of thousands of pounds has been scrapped after a deluge of complaints.

Coxeter House in Abingdon has persuaded a private firm to drop more than 1,500 penalty charges and dozens of court cases against drivers who used its car park – claiming it was hassling people who were eligible to park there.

The cluster of buildings in Stratton Way accommodate 13 businesses including a gym and shops, whose staff and customers can use the 50 parking spaces.

Following problems with town centre shoppers taking spots without permission, Coxeter House employed UK Car Park Management (UKCPM) to enforce a new system.

James Coxeter, speaking on behalf of Coxeter House, said: "There was pressure to keep it free for genuine customers. In hindsight, we should have just left it as it was."

The system they asked UKCPM to install in late 2015 involved tablet computers. Drivers had to tap in their registration number each time they visited.

Cameras snapped plates on entry and begin drawing up a ticket, which was cancelled if that same registration was entered.

But Mr Coxeter said the tablets would 'frequently fail', adding: "More than 1,500 genuine customers got tickets within a few months.

"It put people off wanting to come back – the gym was beginning to lose customers.

"We said we wanted the tickets cancelling and UKCPM refused. As we are the landowners, they were supposed to be acting on our behalf."

Fined drivers were told to pay a £60 penalty, increasing to £100 after 14 days.

Coxeter House asked to cancel its contract with UKCPM in March last year after problems persisted, and switched off the system after a lack of response.

The parking company's solicitor sent letters to 90 people threatening court action. Mr Coxeter said all of them were genuine customers.

The firm also demanded £7,000 from Coxeter House due to the contract being cut.

Mr Coxeter contacted ITV's Tonight programme for a feature on parking companies, due to air this month.

UKCPM has since agreed to scrap all outstanding fines.

Its director James Randall said Coxeter House chose to install a 'tough scheme' and insisted the tablets were not faulty, but many drivers simply did not enter registration numbers.

He added: "We've been made a scapegoat - as a goodwill gesture, we decided to cancel all outstanding parking charges.

"We decided that all cases going to court would be retracted."

One South Abingdon resident, who did not want to be named, was due to fight her case in court in July.

The 38-year-old visited an Indian restaurant at Coxeter House on Valentine's Day last year but admitted she did not provide registration details.

She said: "I paid on card so had proof I was there. It's unbelievable it got so far.

-I haven't been back since - I'm still too nervous."

Coxeter House now employs a warden to monitor car parking.