A parking firm which falsely claimed to be a Gatwick Airport approved operator, has been fined more than £10,000.

EPS Parking Limited of Crawley made other false claims including that it was part of West Sussex County Council’s Buy with Confidence scheme, a Park Mark approved operator and British Parking Association approved operator.

The firm was found guilty of breaching the Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 by claiming to be an approved operator of the county council Trading Standards scheme on its website.

Magistrates fined the company, which has a registered address of Graffham Close in Ifield, Crawley, £2,000 for each of the five offences it was charged with.

They also awarded costs of £2,683 to West Sussex County Council.

The firm was not in court for the case at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Friday, May 16.

The court heard that the county council’s Trading Standards service began its investigation into the company following complaints from customers last October. The company was originally a member of the Buy with Confidence scheme but was removed, and should not have been advertising that it was still a member.

The Buy With Confidence scheme provides a list of hundreds of reputable local businesses, checked and vetted by West Sussex County Council's Trading Standards team.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “I hope this sends a clear message that we will always act against people who claim to be part of the Buy With Confidence scheme, who aren’t.”

He said: “The scheme exists precisely to protect people against this sort of underhand action and I am pleased that the magistrates on Friday saw fit to issue such a large fine. “We would always encourage people to check the Buy With Confidence scheme to source reputable traders, in the knowledge they have already been checked and vetted by us.”

For more information about Buy With Confidence, or West Sussex Trading Standards Service, visit the county council's website at: www.westsussex.gov.uk