Jobsworth traffic wardens were slammed today after they slapped war veterans with parking tickets – on ARMED FORCES DAY.
Disgusted motorists – many of them disabled – returned to find they had been hit with £70 fines following a tribute celebration in Queens Park, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.
Around 3,000 people attended the popular event – and some were forced to park on a grass verge nearby after the venue’s limited spaces quickly filled up.
Those that did – mostly elderly people and blue badge holders – returned to their cars to find parking tickets attached to their windscreens.
And they claimed jobsworth wardens had targeted elderly motorists as ‘easy pickings’.
Dennis Morley, 75, was one of 15 motorists who received a fine on Sunday afternoon after turning up to pay tribute to service personnel.
He said: “Everywhere was chock-a-block. I wasn’t the first person to park on the verge, and I wasn’t obstructing the road.
“There must have been around 15 cars parked on the grass verge when I got back to my car, and they had all got tickets.
“There’s no doubt in my mind the traffic warden was targeting the park.
“He was probably hiding behind a tree. I only live round the corner, and you never see a traffic warden near the park on a normal day.
“They shouldn’t have been targeting an event like this.
“You had people attending on crutches and in wheelchairs who had been injured serving their country.”
Mr Morley plans to appeal the charge and claimed wardens deliberately targeted the event.
Organisers of the event, which has run for seven years alongside national Armed Forces Day events, also slammed the wardens’ actions.
Ex-serviceman Dennis Tideswell, 81, chairman of the North Staffordshire Armed Forces Day celebration committee, said discretion should have been used.
He said: “It’s absolutely insulting, it’s supposed to be a day where we say thank you to our servicemen and women for serving their country.
“There were people in wheelchairs and with disabilities who wouldn’t have been able to
“It’s a mark of how many people had turned out to pay their respects that people were having to park on grass verges – you couldn’t get near the park on the day.
“It was just one day, they could have used a bit of discretion instead of slapping tickets on people.
“I know at least one man who got a ticket had a blue badge – he approached another organiser on the day and was quite upset about it.
Yesterday, unrepentant officials from Stoke City Council defended the fines and said enforcement officials had a duty to ensure residents park safely.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Parking enforcement officers cover the whole of Stoke-on-Trent and are able to respond to concerns from residents.
“Unfortunately there were a small number of vehicles parked on grass verges, on pavements and on double yellow lines outside Longton Park on Sunday.
“It is important motorists park safely and legally in the interests of other road users and pedestrians.”