This was the moment elderly church-goers emerged from morning mass – to find their cars had been slapped with PARKING TICKETS.
Jobsworth traffic wardens even targeted a row of cars bearing blue DISABLED badges – despite them having permission to park outside the church.
Members of the congregation could be seen arguing against the tickets but the unrepentant wardens refused to back down.
Furious pensioners – some of them in wheelchairs – pleaded for 30 minutes to have the penalty charges overturned.
The bizarre scene unfolded on Sunday morning outside Our Lady and St Hubert church in Oldbury, West Mids.
Churchgoer Mary Docker, 59, who suffers from MS, found two different wardens sticking a £50 fine to her windscreen.
She said: “When I arrived with my two young grandchildren there were two officers waiting to dish out tickets.
“I told them that the church had special dispensation for disabled parking and suggested that they take photographs of the cars and check with their manager before issuing any fines.
“But when I came out there was a ticket on my car.
“It’s so unfair, and mean, I can’t walk any great distance and I worry that I might not be able to continue attending the church where I’ve been going for many years.
“If I cannot park here I will not be able to attend mass any more.
“There is clearly a lowered kerb where allowances have been made for parking.”
Mrs Docker added that she thought wardens had targeted the area after the council extended the busy Wolverhampton Road red route into side roads, including Bleakhouse Road, where the church sits.
The street was changed in to a clearway – meaning no vehicles are permitted to stop – around two weeks ago when council workers laid down new red lines.
But priest Father Peter Blundell said that there was no consultation with the church over the change from the previous yellow road markings.
He said: “We have had no notification they were doing this at all and certainly no notification of the consequences.
“We’ve seen no signs go up informing locals of any changes to the rules.
“I’ve been here eight years and I’ve always said ‘if you’ve got a blue badge you’ll be fine’.
“If they can’t park there it means that any disabled people will have to leave their cars far away and make their way to church.
“Some of them are in wheelchairs so how they’ll make it I don’t now.
“If the council refuses to budge I worry I might not see some of them again.
“It also has implications for funerals and weddings held at the church.”
Cllr Maria Crompton (LAB), cabinet member for highways and the environment on Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, said the matter would be investigated and disputed tickets could be appealed.
She said: “Parking regulations do state that where red lines have been painted on the road the traffic regulations include the footpath.
“Parking on footpaths causes other obstructions for pedestrians which are quite dangerous.
“There is an appeals process which allows drivers to state their case and each one will be considered on its own merits.
“Hopefully this will resolve the problem.”
Cllr Crompton was not able to comment on the claim from the church that the road outside had only been recently changed to a red route.