Businesses which have been charging tourists to park on their forecourts were today warned they could face council action.
Town hall chiefs say they are investigating reports a number of businesses – two in South Shore and one in the town centre – have been charging fees to tourists and shoppers.
But unofficial car parks have not had safety checks carried out on them and could invalidate a driver’s care insurance should an incident occur, the council has warned.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We don’t want to see people being ripped off by opportunists.
“If we do discover businesses are operating in this manner we will not hesitate to take action to protect the public and ensure motorist and pedestrian safety is not put at risk.”
The businesses, which cannot be named for legal reasons, the council says, are said to have been selling the service proactively.
But the use of land as an independent car park requires planning permission and vehicles can be towed away by the authorities if they are considered to be a safety risk, particularly to pedestrians.
Suzanne Johnson, branch chairman of the Federation of Small Business in Blackpool, said: “My concerns are it doesn’t look very nice, and also the danger to pedestrians because drivers are parking on pavements.
“It worries me someone will pull onto the pavement and there will be a child there.”