Parking wardens 'told to target the elderly'

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.................STOCK......TRANSPORT,,,,, Penalty charge notice in car windscreen at Notingham City Centre.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo, Monday February 19 2007.. Rui Vieira/PA

A private parking firm has been using questionable tactics to penalise elderly motorists with fines, an investigation has revealed.

The Mirror has discovered that the company – which manages a number of hospital car parks all over the UK – instructs its wardens to target drivers parked in areas where signs are unclear, issue repeat tickets for vehicles left in the same space and issue tickets to people who wouldn't contend them.

A company insider told the newspaper: "They rely on repeat offenders and vulnerable people. We're told elderly people are good 'payers' to go after and you know the places they are most likely to be.

"People don't know how to challenge them and they make so much money from these people.

"Some wardens wait in areas where it is not clear you can't park there. There should be a big sign on the entrance but it's not in their interests to have a big sign. Sometimes there will be a car parked in front of the sign.

"When I was training I was told to wait in the car and watch people parking. They said to rush over, give them a ticket then get back in to your car as fast as you can.

"If we are not giving enough tickets we are told to go out in the early hours or late at night to catch people. Some wardens end up doing 15-hour days to try to hit targets."

Another tactic was to issue multiple tickets to an incorrectly parked car every 24 hours.

The source said: "We can give a new ticket every 24 hours. If someone doesn't realise for a few days or go on holiday they can be targeted every day.

"If a warden thinks that is the case they are told to keep going back. There was a van parked in one of my spaces which was over the lines but the bay wasn't big enough. He's been allowed a permit but there are no spaces big enough.

"I see cars where the permit has dropped down. I don't ticket them but they tell us we are supposed to because it's not displayed 'properly'.

"They can't appeal even if they have a permit if it's not displayed properly."

AA spokesman Luke Bosdet told the Mirror: "The targeting of elderly and vulnerable drivers is vile.

"This investigation should be raised with the government. Where parking firms apply to the DVLA for details to issue the fine it should monitor where the infringement happened.

"We need a profile of where tickets are being handed out because we have a never ending free-for-all.

"It is allowing private parking firms to make as much money as possible and make motorists as miserable as possible."