A retired Ministry of Defence worker has been left with a bill of more than £1,200 after being found guilty of deliberately keying a car in a Skipton supermarket car park.

David Brown, 70, scratched Hannah Wood's car with his keys, causing about £300 damage, after she tackled him for parking in a parent and child space, Skipton magistrates heard yesterday.

Brown, who denied criminal damage, claimed his BMW had a key card instead of traditional type keys and he could not have caused the damage.

He further explained that the reason he had used the parent and child space was because his wife was virtually disabled following a serious accident and unable to walk far.

But magistrates found him guilty after hearing evidence from an independent witness who said she had clearly seen Brown scratch Mrs Wood's car with keys before rapidly leaving the scene.

Brown, of Primrose Mill, Tannery Lane, Embsay, was fined £240, ordered to pay compensation of £293.52 to Mrs Wood, a victims surcharge of £24 and costs of £650.

Mrs Wood told the court she had gone to Aldi to do her weekly shop with one of her children after dropping her oldest child off at school. She had turned up at about 9.30am on January 10 and parked in one of the parent and child spots just about at the same time Brown had pulled in next to her.

She said she had pointed out to Brown that the spaces were reserved and had been told it was her problem if she chose to have children.

The altercation was witnessed by Emma Buckmaster, who was shopping with her two young children, but unable to get into one of the spaces.

Mrs Buckmaster told the court how after finishing her shopping she had clearly seen Brown scratch Mrs Wood's car with what she was convinced was a set of keys.

"I ran across and said 'Oi, I saw that,' he looked at me and drove off," she said.

Brown, who defended himself, claimed he and his wife had responded calmly and walked off into the store after Mrs Wood had "peered" into their car and begun berating him.

He denied later scratching her car and produced in evidence a fob, without keys, which under cross examination turned out to belong to a different car, but which he said was identical.

His wife, Glennys June Brown, agreed she had told Mrs Wood it was her problem if she had children and added there was nothing to stop them from using the the spaces as they were advisory and not obligatory.

The court heard that Brown was a man of previous good character who claimed to have signed the Official Secrets Act and to have "gold star security clearance" from New Scotland Yard enabling him to work at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire.

But Caroline Midgley, prosecuting, accused him of being "fundamentally dishonest".

"The enormity of what you have done is so embarrassing that you just cannot bring yourself to accept that you were seen," she said.