Holiday makers are being warned about ‘rogue’ parking companies after police found more than one thousand vehicles covered with mud in a boggy field near Gatwick.
The vehicles were left unattended, some with keys left on the windscreen and hundreds of other keys were found in an unlocked car boot.
Five firms are suspected of illegally offering the site as a cheap alternative to official airport parking.
It was discovered under a multi-agency operation on June 22.
Sergeant Darren Taylor said: “We visited the site with the district council and trading standards with the aim of exposing and taking firm action against these unscrupulous rogue companies.
“I was disgusted but not overly surprised by the condition of the cars, because this appears to be an ongoing issue in the area.
“Some of the cars were stuck in thick mud and were unable to be towed away; let alone driven away.
“But one of the most worrying things we found was an insecure vehicle with the keys to hundreds of others left in full view in the boot.
“We were on site for about 45 minutes and not a single person was present to challenge us during that time.
“There was nothing stopping us from accessing the field and no CCTV cameras anywhere in sight, which is a real concern.”