Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Sunday, 25 January 2009

Wardens probed over wrong tickets

Parking ticket
A car cannot be fined for parking if there is no sign listing restrictions

An inquiry has begun after three parking wardens issued fines on a car parked in a bay which had no sign listing parking restrictions.

Parking contractor NCP Services acted after a vehicle in London's West End was incorrectly targeted.

The company said the wardens believed they had acted correctly and there was no criminal behaviour involved.

Westminster Council said the actions of the wardens were unacceptable and the penalties issued would be cancelled.

Video footage showed attendants posting penalty notices on a car parked in a bay, then taking photographs of signs listing parking restrictions in another bay two metres away, said a spokesman from NCP Services.

We have clearly let ourselves down badly
Tim Cowen, NCP Services

Tim Cowen from the company said the ticketing "mistake" had happened on two occasions because the sign in the bay where the car was parked had been removed.

He explained that that meant there was "effectively free parking" in the bay until the sign was replaced.

The company said it had begun an investigation into the matter.

He said: "We have clearly let ourselves down badly.

"There is no fraud, there is no incentive to us to issue these unenforceable tickets, but there is clearly a much greater need for better training and better controls in this location and in this aspect of our job.

"We are confident our officers thought they were acting properly, but we accept that they were mistaken."

The cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Danny Chalkley, said: "This kind of behaviour by parking attendants is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

"The parking attendants involved have been removed from duty pending formal investigation.

"Our rules clearly state that if there is no sign on a parking bay a ticket should not be issued."

At least 200 traffic wardens work in the West End, NCP Services said.

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