Page last updated at 09:05 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Parking ticket numbers in Devon up by 22%

Parking machine
Officials say the rise was expected

The number of parking tickets issued by Devon County Council for on-street parking offences has risen by 22%.

The authority took over from the police in issuing parking tickets in May 2008.

For the next six months the number of tickets issued was 20,861, but in the same period in 2009, it was 25,398 and revenue almost doubled to £750,761.

The council says when it took over issuing tickets not all areas were fully staffed and the council was taking a "softly-softly" line.

Helen Dobbie, head of environmental Services at West Devon Borough Council told BBC News: "At the beginning of the service in west Devon we weren't fully-staffed so the number of enforcement officers has increased over the period.

We don't think staff are being over-zealous
Lester Wilmington, Devon County Council

"And for a month or so we issued customer-friendly warning notices rather than penalty charge notices to pre-warn people about the change in service.

"The rise in charge notices was therefore expected."

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in Exeter, the number of tickets issued over the same period went up from 6,279 to 9,483 and in west Devon the figure went up from 680 to 1,092.

Some drivers in Tavistock, west Devon, accused parking wardens of being over-zealous and said they were damaging trade in the town by deterring shoppers.

Lester Wilmington, head of highways management at Devon County Council, said: "We don't think staff are being over-zealous because all parking enforcement officers do a good job and have been well trained.

"If people think they have unfairly pounced upon there is an appeals process they can go through to challenge the ticket."

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