Rogue airport car park shut down

By Lisa James
30/11/2022
Home » Rogue airport car park shut down

Police have issued a warning to holidaymakers after closing down a ‘rogue’ meet-and-greet car parking service that was listed on price comparison sites.

Officers acted after increasing reports from holidaymakers flying out of Manchester who’d been duped into booking what they thought was a legitimate service, then returned to find their cars had been stolen, criminally damaged or driven for hundreds of miles.

Police say that, in some cases, cars had been driven for ‘thousands of miles’ while owners were away.

Following a joint operation by Cheshire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police, called Operation Cicero, a makeshift car park on land at Lode Hill, Styal, in Cheshire, has been shut down.

The site had been set up in the grounds of a former country house and the land owner agreed to remove the tenants after Police stepped in.

Inspector Andrew Baker, Beat Manager at Macclesfield Local Policing Unit, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic result both for holidaymakers and for the local community, and I would like to thank the owner of this site for their co-operation. 

“The car park that was operating from the site was simply not fit for purpose and not what customers thought that they were paying for. 

“Many people using this car park made their bookings through online comparison sites, believing that they were booking professional, secure airport parking which are linked to the airport. 

“In reality, the Lode Hill site had no affiliation to the airport whatsoever, and the cars were simply dumped in muddy fields. Not only that, but the site also had a hugely detrimental impact on local the community.”

But Inspector Baker warned: “While this car park has now been closed, there are still other rogue car parks operating in the region. 

“Therefore, I would encourage anyone who is planning their holiday and looking to book a parking slot, to do their research, choose a reputable company and always book through an official website and don’t just go for the cheapest option.”

A Manchester Airport spokesperson added: “We are grateful to Cheshire Constabulary and its partner agencies for the work they are doing to tackle this issue and will continue to work with them to raise awareness of the risks posed by booking airport parking through these unscrupulous companies.

“In addition to our own official parking products, there are a number of reliable and reputable third-party providers located near the airport and we would always urge passengers to do their research before handing over their keys. 

“We encourage customers to use initiatives such as Park Mark and the Government-backed Buy with Confidence scheme to find a provider that has undergone a series of detailed checks and is committed to trading fairly.”

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