A funeral director says he was lucky to leave a Romford retail park alive after claiming a parking barrier impaled the windscreen of his car.

Paul Farrell, 62, had popped into the Burger King restaurant in the Eastern Avenue Retail Park on his way home on November 18.

As he was leaving the car park on the site – which is managed by commercial real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) – Paul alleges the horizontal barrier swung open and pierced his windscreen “like a lance” on the passenger side.

Paul, who was alone in the car during the incident, said: “My passenger would have been killed or, if it had swung across my bit, so would I.

“I’m 62 and I’ve never had an accident in 42-odd years of driving. One minute I was leaving the car park and the next minute it (the barrier) was in my car."

Romford Recorder: Paul in his role as a funeral directorPaul in his role as a funeral director (Image: Paul Farrell)

A spokesperson for JLL said: “JLL act as the managing agent for Eastern Avenue Retail Park. We have been made aware of an incident that took place on 18 November in the Burger King car park and are investigating this.”

They said a separate security firm, which the company declined to name, operated the barriers but JLL is responsible for the site.

Paul, from Cricklewood in north-west London, said the alleged incident caused £7,000 worth of damage but he was more concerned about the risk to life.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the government agency responsible for regulating and enforcing workplace health and safety, has said it is aware of accidents – including fatalities – involving the horizontal swing barriers typically found in retail car parks.

Romford Recorder: A barrier at the retail parkA barrier at the retail park (Image: Paul Farrell)

It added that people in charge of the entrances to retail premises are responsible for making sure barriers are adequately secured, whether open or shut, and for carrying out regular inspections to ensure methods of securing have not deteriorated.

A Burger King UK spokesperson said: "We are extremely sorry to hear about Mr Farrell's accident at the Romford Eastern Avenue car park and are very glad to hear he is okay.

"As the barrier is managed and controlled by JLL, we are in touch with their team to ensure the barrier is fixed as a matter of urgency."