A MOTORIST was fined £50 for parking outside of a bay in a nearly deserted and flooded car park because she wanted to avoid stepping in a giant puddle.

Chris Daly said she moved her red Mazda MX5 less than half a metre over to avoid a giant puddle by her driver’s door.

But when she returned to the car park after a few hours’ shopping she found to her horror that she had been fined for failing to park in the bay.

The 63-year-old said the decision was “ludicrous” but councillors defended the move saying “it is a legal requirement to park within the marked bays”.

Mrs Daly is a former long-term resident of Burgess Hill, now living in Surrey.

She returns to the town on a weekly basis to visit family and friends.

She got the ticket when she parked in the multi-storey Martlets car park because of the rain.

She said: “On my level there was my car and four others.

“I parked and as I went to get out I realised there was a huge puddle so I moved my car a little to avoid this then paid the parking fee and went to shop.”

Mrs Daly said when she returned she saw that a warden had issued her with a £50 fine.

She said: “I challenged this on the basis of common sense and visitor goodwill but this was rejected on the basis that I could have moved to another space to avoid the puddle.

“While I have paid this fine, I have written again to express my anger at the ludicrous situation and a definite feeling of the law being an ass.

“At £50 a pop I won’t be visiting the town centre again and if this is the way that the council treats its visitors and supports Burgess Hill traders then I fear there is no hope for the town.”

Councillor Gary Marsh, cabinet member for property and economic development, said: “It is a legal requirement to park within the marked bays and this is made quite clear within our car parks.

“If, for any reason, a driver feels that they cannot park wholly within a certain bay, it is their responsibility to find a bay where they can park within the lines.

“If the car park is fairly empty, as has been intimated in this case, then this should not have been a problem.”