Gatwick passengers are being urged to use only approved car parking operators after a non-approved company failed to return vehicles to more than 100 passengers.

Gatwick First Parking, a meet-and-greet parking company with no connection to the airport reportedly ceased trading last week with no prior warning, leaving vehicles abandoned and their rightful owners unable to retrieve them.

The airport has since used its own number plate tracking system to help trace many of the missing cars.

It has re-issued parking guidance to passengers which recommends the use of either official on-airport parking or companies registered with Gatwick’s off-airport Approved Operators Scheme.

Run in partnership with the British Parking Association, the scheme was introduced to offer Gatwick passengers more confidence when choosing off-airport parking, and only features suppliers that have adhered to the approval processes of Trading Standards’ Buy with Confidence programme.

Gatwick senior commercial operations manager, Chris Banford, said: “We sympathise with any of our passengers who put their trust in Gatwick First Parking and have been affected by its abrupt collapse and the lack of information provided in the aftermath.

“This company had absolutely no affiliation to Gatwick airport and we strongly recommend that passengers should avoid non-approved firms going forward.

“By using official on-airport parking or companies in our Approved Operators Scheme instead, passengers will eliminate the risk of experiencing a distressing incident like this in the future.”