Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Squad car ticketed as officers made arrests

MANY a motorist has been punished for being in Bristol's bus lanes.

But shopkeepers on the Gloucester Road were both shocked and amused to see a traffic warden apparently showing police they are not above the law by slapping a parking ticket on a squad car windscreen.

Despite the city council having no record of the ticket being issued, witnesses said they saw a warden filling out the fixed penalty notice before taking a photograph of the police car and the restricted parking signs nearby.

On the stretch of the busy commuter route in question, no stopping or driving in the bus lane is allowed between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on weekdays. It was about 4.45pm last Thursday when the police car was left unattended for about 15 minutes, near the Co-op opposite Raglan Road, while two officers arrested a shop-lifter inside the store.

Ryan Westlake, assistant manager at Marie Curie Cancer Care, took the photo and sent it to the Post.

"I was closing up the shop and saw the traffic warden out there issuing the ticket," he said. "Crowds of people gathered round him and he had a massive smile on his face.

"While I was waiting for my bus home, I saw the police officer walking back to the car, on her phone."

The 27-year-old from Filton added: "I think it should be the same rules for everyone."

Paul Carpenter, who has run Totally Toys for 24 years, said: "At about 5pm, I saw a female police officer coming back to the car. She took the parking ticket off the windscreen and drove off. She didn't look happy at all.

"I think it's a bit pointless giving them a ticket because I can't imagine the police paying it."

A city council spokeswoman said: "The council has no record of a ticket issued to this vehicle. The normal procedure is for a ticket to be issued, which is then challenged by the police if they are attending an emergency.

"They need a letter from a senior officer to get the ticket cancelled."

Avon and Somerset police said two officers were attending an allegation of shoplifting at the time and arrested a 28-year-old man. But the force also says it has no record of their patrol car being issued a parking ticket.

The penalty for driving or parking in a bus lane is £60, discounted to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Cars obstructing the bus lane on the Gloucester Road – which is also restricted during the morning rush hour – have previously been towed away on some occasions.

Squad car ticketed as officers made arrests

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