EXCLUSIVE: The fat cat parking bosses raking in DOUBLE the PMs £164K salary while slapping fines on record 30,000 motorists A DAY: Seven of top firms made £50MILLION profit over the past three years despite Covid lockdowns
- Big names such as Parking Eye, Apcoa and Euro Car Parks were investigated
- Euro Car Parks boss Barry Tucker and wife Rita own £8million London mansion
- Meanwhile Parking Eye chalked up nearly £28million profit over past three years
- Another fat cat parking boss Simon Abraham and his wife live in a £4m mansion
Fat cat bosses running private parking firms are drawing huge salaries while fining motorists at record rates, a Mail investigation reveals today.
Seven of the top firms generated a combined turnover of more than £650million and raked in more than £50million profit over the past three years despite lockdowns.
MPs and motoring groups said it was a ‘licence to print money’ and called for an inquiry into the astonishing figures.
A record 30,000 motorists a day are receiving tickets thanks to the operation of draconian regimes in private car parks, hospitals, garage forecourts, fast-food restaurants and supermarkets.
The number of tickets issued on private land has soared by 50 per cent in a year, meaning a motorist was caught out every three seconds from April to June.
Fat cat bosses running private parking firms are drawing huge salaries while fining motorists at record rates. Euro Car Parks owner Barry Tucker and his wife Rita, both 67 live in this £8million mansion (above) on one of London’s most expensive streets
In the past three years accounts were available, Barry Tucker’s (pictured) company had a turnover of £97.7million and profits of £15.6million
The parking giants are on track to demand up to £1billion in fines this year because the Government has withdrawn key parts of a long-awaited code of practice aimed at reining in ‘cowboy’ operators.
The firms do not own the land where cars are parked, but instead are awarded contracts by retailers, hospitals and landowners to impose charges. The maximum fine is £100, but this can quickly spiral into several hundred pounds, or even thousands, if the debt is unpaid.
Steve Gooding of the RAC Foundation said: ‘No one doubts the need for private parking managers to make a return in order for their businesses to be viable, but where does the borderline come between reasonable profits and a licence to print money?
‘While the combination of Covid and runaway inflation has put a financial squeeze on many companies, motorists feeling the pinch might be forgiven for questioning how the management of private parking is proving to be such a resiliently lucrative business for its senior directors.
‘Might the sector’s apparent enthusiasm for issuing huge numbers of private parking notices have anything to do with it?’
Greg Smith, a Tory member of the Commons transport committee, said of the Mail’s findings: ‘The figures are incredible. I think the committee ought to conduct a proper inquiry into this sector.
‘From these new figures this is something parliament and the Government needs to take a much closer look at.
‘Companies fleecing drivers, especially at public sector locations like hospitals, need to take a long hard look at their practices.
Simon Abraham (pictured with wife Louise) founded Creative Car Park Ltd and a string of other parking companies, many of which come under the umbrella of Civil Enforcement Ltd
Mr Abraham and his wife live in a £4million mansion (pictured) in an exclusive private road in north-west London
‘Everyone accepts parking is at a premium, but the public deserve a parking system at places like hospitals that works with them and for them, not intentionally to make big bucks and rip them off. ‘
The Mail examined the accounts of some of the biggest names in the business, including Parking Eye, Apcoa and Euro Car Parks.
They clearly illustrate the huge sums involved – some bosses are making more than double the Prime Minister’s salary of £164,080 a year.
Apcoa, which is owned by a company based in tax haven Luxembourg, paid its biggest earning executive, which it did not name, £372,000 last year. This came despite a loss overall on a £75.5million turnover. It describes itself as the biggest parking provider for hospitals, meaning it hands out tickets to nurses, patients and visitors.
Parking Eye chalked up nearly £28million profit over the past three years on a turnover of £118million.
Its two highest-paid directors, unidentified in their accounts, but believed to be Sian Wicks and Philip Boynes, earned £2.25million between them in the three years up to 2021.
Another firm whose name will be familiar to thousands of motorists, Euro Car Parks, runs sites on private and local authority land.
Neighbours said Mr Tucker’s four-storey property often looked like ‘one of his car parks’ with vehicles littering the driveway
It is owned and run by London solicitor Barry Tucker and his wife Rita, both 67. In the past three years accounts were available, the company had a turnover of £97.7million and profits of £15.6million.
On the website of his law firm, Tuckers Solicitors – motto: Standing up for you – Mr Tucker say he specialises in defending ‘fraud, white collar and business crime’.
When the Mail called, a man bearing a stark resemblance to Mr Tucker answered the door at his £8million mansion in one of London’s most expensive streets.
He asked what the enquiry was about before saying ‘I’ll tell him’ and disappearing into a side room.
Parking Eye’s two highest-paid directors, who are unidentified in their accounts, but believed to be Sian Wicks and Philip Boynes (pictured), earned £2.25million between them in the three years up to 2021
Moments later he was back saying: ‘He’s unavailable and says he doesn’t want to talk to you.’
Neighbours said the four-storey property often looked like ‘one of his car parks’ with vehicles littering the driveway.
One said: ‘If that was one of his car parks he would be issuing a lot of fines as the vehicles are parked all over the place at several different angles. It’s a bit of an eye sore.’
When the Mail visited, pride of place was given to a £200,000 Bentley Bentayga parked in front of a garage. There was also a £60,000 Volvo XC90, an old Jaguar XJ6 and three Revai G-Wiz microcars.
The Indian-made electric vehicles, which have been described as the world’s worst electric cars, are no longer in production but are exempt from car tax and congestion charges.
Later Mr Tucker emailed our reporter saying he was in meetings all day, but ‘would revert’.
Something of a pioneer in the private parking game is London businessman Simon Abraham, 48. He founded Creative Car Park Ltd and a string of other parking companies, many of which come under the umbrella of Civil Enforcement Ltd.
CCP was the first to use a fully automated number plate recognition enforcement service.
In 2019, the company was bought out by venture capitalist firm Inflexion and Mr Abraham and his wife Louise received a multi-million windfall.
Mr Abraham and his wife live in a £4million mansion in an exclusive private road in north-west London.
The multi-millionaire, who answered the door dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt, declined to talk about the business saying: ‘Sorry I can’t help you.’
He and his wife are believed to have received the lion’s share of the £83.7million buyout of their firm by Inflexion in 2019.
In the past three years accounts were available, Euro Car Parks had a turnover of £97.7million and profits of £15.6million. Pictured: A Euro Car Parks car park
Parking Eye (one of their car parks pictured) chalked up nearly £28million profit over the past three years on a turnover of £118million
Creative Car Park was the first to use a fully automated number plate recognition enforcement service. Pictured: One of their car parks at an Aldi store
Mr Abraham owns a gleaming silver £150,000 Aston Martin and a new £75,000 BMW iX electric car is parked in the driveway.
Mr Abraham is believed to have bought his property for £1.7million in 2009 before demolishing the building and building a smart new home.
The development was given the go-ahead despite objections from residents who said the size would be out of keeping with surrounding houses.
Horizon Parking Services, owned and run by Essex businessman Bernard Dickson, 67, and his family, took £3.7million on a turnover of £66million, while paying four directors £1.6million over the same three years.
Saba Parking Services made £1.82million profit on a turnover of £67million but its two directors were paid a toal of £1.045million between them over three years.
Excel Parking services made a £3.8million profit on a turnover of £41.3million, and its three directors earned £1.11million between them in that period, with the highest paid receiving £732,418.
Smart Parking turned over £32million in the three years up to 2021 with a profit of £2.2million. Its two directors earned around £506,000 between them in the same period, the highest paid one earning £333,000 over three years.
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