A man has criticised a “topsy-turvy” system informing drivers they must now purchase a ticket in a car park after charges were introduced last month.

Rob Moore parked in the Northway lower car park, in Rickmansworth, while he was giving his time to a local charity last week.

When he returned to his car, he was alarmed to discover a plastic yellow penalty envelope on his windscreen with a note inside warning him that he had not displayed a ticket.

After scouring the car park, Mr Moore – who lives in Watford – says he could not find a machine and when he phoned the number displayed on the ticket, he was told the car park is being prepared for fee paying and there was “no need to worry” about the ticket.

Mr Moore was concerned that this new system made him feel as though he had broken the law.

He said: “I was quite concerned, as I have parked in this area for years for free.

“The note inside the envelope turned out to be a warning because I had not displayed a ticket. I looked around to see where I could have paid. There did not seem to be any place to obtain a ticket.

“I rang the number displayed on the ticket to find out what I should have done and said that the ticket warns me that I could be fined if I was found to be parking in the same area again. I asked how I could obtain a ticket but was told there was no way to get a ticket yet and if I received a further warning, there would no penalty enforceable.

“Two things strike me. The first is that this is a topsy-turvy way for a new system to be introduced. The second and more importantly, I felt that as an innocent member of the public, I was being made to feel as if I had broken the law.”

Shoppers now pay to park in Rickmansworth town centre as charges were have been introduced last week.

There will now be free parking for one hour in eight short-stay car parks in Rickmansworth - with a small charge of only £1.00 to park for a second hour.

A spokesperson for Three Rivers Council responded that there is a ticket machine in Northway lower car park.

They said: “This sounds like the Northway lower car park, the ticket machine here is located on the eastern wall of the car park on the right hand side as you drive into the car park.

“There are multiple signs around the car park which tell visitors to display a ticket - including on the entrance, facing ‘inwards’ so that you can’t enter or leave the car park without seeing the signs.

“It is standard practice, for some time before enforcement of any new requirements starts, to issue warning notices rather than parking penalty tickets, to give drivers the chance to get used to the new situation.”