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Rogue airport car park permanently closed thanks to work by local officers

A rogue meet and greet car park in Styal has been permanently closed thanks to work by local officers.

Earlier this year Cheshire Constabulary hosted Operation Cicero, as part of a multi-agency crackdown on rogue airport meet and greet car parking firms.

The operation took place in response to an increase in the number of holidaymakers reporting issues relating to car parks operating near Manchester Airport. 

The incidents ranged from car thefts and criminal damage to motorists returning home to find that their cars have been driven hundreds, even thousands, of miles while they have been on holiday. 

Many of the complaints related to a makeshift car part which had been set up in the grounds of a former country house at Lode Hill. 

To help address the problems, more than 50 people took place in an operation on Tuesday 21 June which saw two multi-agency teams attend the site.

The teams, which included officers from both Cheshire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police, along with partner agency staff, used their specialisms to identify any offences, while also sending a strong message to the businesses that they have the expertise to identify any wrongdoing and will prosecute where appropriate. 

Following the operation, officers have continued to work closely with their partners to help address the issues and explore what action could be taken.

As part of this, the force has been in liaison with the owner of the Lode Hill site, who had agreed to remove the current tenants, meaning that the car park operating at the site will be permanently closed.

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.”

The final cars parked at Lode Hill were removed from the site last week and the owner of the land has now taken responsibility for the site.

Inspector Baker added: “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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