MORE than 100 parking tickets issued over Christmas by Didcot’s Orchard Centre had to be cancelled after a technical glitch.

The centre’s parking contractors have written to residents to say they will cancel every ticket issued, correctly or not, between December 22 and January 7.

Parking Collection Services (PCS) said tickets were incorrectly issued because of a “technical problem”.

The Oxford Mail understands a total of 150 parking charge notices were incorrectly sent out.

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Andy Jarvis, of Ladygrove, said the situation was “ridiculous”, calling PCS “amateur”.

Mr Jarvis received a letter on February 24 fining him £25, or £100 if not paid within 14 days, for a parking “incident” at 6.15pm – but there was no date given.

The letter said he had overstayed, but as he does not finish work at Cartridge UK in Botley Road, Oxford, until 5.30pm most nights, he said it would be difficult to get to the Orchard Centre by 6.15pm.

Mr Jarvis, 52, said: “I phoned the Orchard Centre first and they said they thought there had been a mistake with the parking system “They said ‘loads of people have rung us’.”

But when he called parking firm PCS, he was told he should pay up.

He said: “It’s amateur – they hadn’t passed the information on to their staff taking the calls.”

He put a message on the Spotted: Didcot Facebook page and said from the overwhelming response he got: “It seemed like just about everybody had got the same letter for various incidents, but none of them had a date.”

Last week, he and others received a letter from PCS saying it would cancel all tickets issued for the car park between December 22 and January 7.

The letter writer apologised for any inconvenience caused.

Hammerson, which runs the Orchard Centre, issued a statement blaming a technical fault with its ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system and saying a “small number” of customers had been incorrectly issued with parking tickets.

It said all customers affected had been contacted to inform them of the mistake and issued with voided tickets or refunds.

Hammerson also apologised for any inconvenience caused and said anyone affected could call 0161 214 8058 for further assistance.

The company refused to say how many tickets were issued during the 16-day period, how many complaints it received, and how many refunds it was making.