A MOTHER says she is scared to park by a branch of Burger King after a “cowboy” parking attendant gave her a £100 fine.

Kate Joyice stopped at the fast food restaurant in Hove’s Goldstone Retail Park before taking her boys and their two friends to football practice on Monday morning.

Burger King was closed so Kate said she left her car and nipped over the road to drop her sons William, five, and Sam, 11, to play football in Hove Park opposite.

It was Kate’s birthday and she said she planned to return to the shopping area and treat herself to some “retail therapy” at TK Maxx.

But when she walked back, she was “furious” to discover she had been fined £100 for leaving the car park, reduced to £60 if paid within two weeks.

A notice warns shoppers: “If you leave this site whilst this vehicle remains in the car park you will be liable to receive a parking charge.”

Kate, from Burgess Hill, said: “I’m scared to park by Burger King now. 

“I got a fine within three minutes. They must have been watching. I didn’t even see them do it. 

“These parking attendants hop out and fine you on the spot.

“It was my birthday and the plan was to grab a coffee at Burger King and then drop the boys over the road to Hove Park for football camp before returning to do a spot of retail therapy in TK Maxx.

“We don’t normally go to Burger King. The kids were twisting my arm trying to persuade me to get a few snacks and I thought I’d go in and get a coffee too.

“But it was closed. The parking attendant must literally have watched me try the door at Burger King and walk out to drop my kids off over the road.

“I signed the boys in and took my five-year-old to the loo and grabbed a coffee from the cafe. I must have been 15 minutes maximum.

“I came back, and I found I’d been slapped with a big fine. 

“I’m so angry. They just jump out and ticket you. 

“There’s a tiny little sign saying you can’t leave the car park. It’s in very small print. 

“Hidden in the terms and conditions, on signs 12ft off the ground, is a clause banning you from leaving the site. 

"It’s very unfair. They could have told me I needed to drive round rather than walk.

“It’s just a money making exercise, and it needs to be exposed.”

Kate said she later returned to Burger King after picking up her sons, but parked elsewhere out of worry. 

She said: “I had to return to Hove to collect the boys and I had promised them we could go to Burger King as a treat. 

“I was so worried I might get another ticket, I had to park in the road by the park, then get the boys into the car and drive round to the retail park to then park and get out to go in Burger King. 

“How utterly ridiculous.”

Kate said she plans to contest the fine. 

Neither Burger King nor the parking company UKPC responded to The Argus’s request for comment.