Rogue parking firms dumping cars in streets and fields near Manchester Airport

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Manchester Airport has teamed up with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council to zap “inconsiderate and illegal parking” around the hub. This is not a new issue – residents and holidaymakers have been complaining about these firms for years.

The latest crackdown follows the launch of Operation Cicero in June, a police-led mission of enforcement against dodgy parking firms. The incidents they uncovered included car thefts and criminal damage. While these unscrupulous firms cause congestion on nearby streets, they also create havoc for the holidaymakers returning from their travels to find their vehicles have been driven for thousands of miles, damaged or even targeted for theft.

Travellers are being urged to ensure they are booking parking with reputable firms, the Manchester Evening News reports.

One homeowner said: “We see these dodgy firms parking cars all the time and it doesn’t feel like the airport is actually doing anything at all. Ringway is so congested – and after lockdown it’s even more noticeable.”

However, Chris Woodroofe, managing director at Manchester Airport, insisted they were taking rogue meet and greet firms “very seriously”, adding: “In addition to our own official parking, 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.”

Park Mark is a Police Crime Prevention Initiative designed to tackle crime in parking facilities, with over 5,000 accredited car parks in the UK. Buy With Confidence is a government scheme listing providers vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.

The airport, Manchester City Council and police bosses are urging passengers to use these schemes when selecting which company to use.

Insp Andrew Baker, from Cheshire Police, said: “When booking airport car parks people often go for the cheapest option – but sometimes this isn’t the best choice.

“Here in Cheshire, we have received a number of complaints from residents in relation to rogue parking companies which are operating near Manchester Airport. These companies claim to be secure car parks which are affiliated to the airport. In reality, the vehicles are often stored in insecure muddy fields.

“As a result, we have had reports of vehicles being damaged or even having parts stolen. In other cases, we’ve been contacted by people who’ve returned home to find their vehicles have been driven thousands of miles while they’ve been on holiday.

“While we are committed to working closely with our partners to tackle these issues, it’s essential that holiday makers play their part.

“I would urge anyone who is going on 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. Otherwise your car may be touring the UK while you are travelling the world.”

Councillor Leigh-Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods at Manchester City Council, said: “The airport is one of the pillars of the region’s economy and it is positive to see its recovery following Covid-19. But for some local residents the impact of inconsiderate parking has been significant. I’m glad to see that Manchester Airports Group are putting in place measures to alleviate this during one of the busiest periods of the year.

“As ever the Council would recommend anyone leaving their car at the airport when they fly to use reputable businesses and not fall prey to rogue operators. The Buy with Confidence Scheme is the best and easiest way to ensure your car is safe when on holiday.”

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