A Plymouth man found himself facing heavy criticism on the Money Saving Expert and Parking Pranksters websites after he issued authentic-looking but legally worthless parking tickets to city motorists.
One worried driver had asked the online community for opinions as to whether he should pay the £100 fine.
Many cited a line found on the company’s website, devonparkingagency.co.uk: “The Client(s) agree that any payment to Devon Parking Agency is classed as a donation to the company instead of a legal required payment.”
Aidan Thompson claimed he set up the business after he struggled to find a job.
He said: “I saw people kicking off about it online and realised I created an issue. I understand that now.
“I feel physically ill because I caused such a big issue. I didn’t mean to cause such a big problem and I was stupid and immature.
“I spoke to a police officer at Crownhill. I went in to say I made a bit of a mistake, a bit of an error on my part. I wasn’t intending to create fraud.”
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police say they are looking into the matter.