HOSPITAL car park bosses have apologised to an elderly patient, who was led to believe he had been caught in a scam.
Mr James Walker had an appointment with doctors at the oral surgery department at Burnley General Hospital, and parked in the Casterton Avenue car park, expecting to buy a ticket.
“I was just about to put my money in the machine when my arm was grabbed by a man with a foreign accent,” said Mr Walker.
“He said the machine was broken and he was issuing tickets.
“I had the money ready in my hand and foolishly gave it him and he disappeared. When I looked, the ticket was in Swedish.”
Mr Walker’s concerns over the incident grew as he reflected on what had happened during his two-and-a-half-hour stay.
“I was really worried I would get a penalty ticket”, he said.
“Luckily, when I got back there wasn’t one, but I was still bothered about what happened so I thought I had better contact the office.
“When I eventually got through to somebody, they could not have cared less.
“It looked like a scam to me, and, at £1.80 and more a time, it was a nice little earner.”
Craig Henderson, PFI contract manager for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I would like to assure users of Burnley General Hospital car parks the person in question was employed by our car parking team.
“On investigation, it is clear the member of staff was in the process of maintaining the machine when this visitor arrived.
“Our usual customer practice is to mark any defective machines as out of order and ask visitors to use an alternative machine.
“In this case, however, the member of staff was able to issue the visitor with a ticket. This was done in good faith to avoid the gentleman having to walk to an alternative pay point.
“The tickets from the machine do have the word ‘Sweden’ on them, as this is where they are made. Any suspicious activity is always addressed by the car park and security team, and dealt with accordingly.
“I would like to thank the gentleman for his vigilance, and apologise that the situation was not made fully clear to him when he called.”