Parking wardens in Marlborough have been accused of reaching a new low by booking a funeral car that was being washed outside an undertakers in preparation for a funeral.
The woman warden who booked the Daimler limousine outside Thomas Free and Sons on Thursday went away threatening to report undertaker David Hunter for assault by splashing her with water.
Ironically the kerb space outside the undertakers in The Parade did not have double yellow lines originally and people used to park there blocking in the hearses so Frees asked for the lines to be put down.
Mr Hunter was washing one of the funeral limousines outside his premises with it parked partly in a legitimate parking space and partly on the yellow lines when the parking warden was checking cars in the Parade.
He said: “In all honesty who was I blocking in by washing the car there...I was parked across our own doors so nobody else was inconvenienced.”
His partner Samantha De Prout said: “She could see he was washing the car but she still stood right in front of it and, unfortunately, some of the water went on her.”
Mr Hunter said the warden told him: “You have got me wet, I am having you for assault.”
The undertaker said he had not deliberately aimed the water at the warden and said: “I was using a hose pipe and she chose to come and stand in front of the car.”
He added: “I know the wardens have a job to do but they should use their discretion.”
A woman passer by who saw the warden slapping the £25 ticket on the funeral car said: “I have never see anything so pathetic. The undertaker was washing his car right outside his own doors.”
Pensioner and war veteran Buster Cox, 81, who was also walking by, told the warden: “Why don’t you leave the car alone, you can see its a funeral car.”
The town’s enforcement officers have become notorious for their jobsworth attitude and failing to make any allowances for any reason if they see vehicles parked where they shouldn’t be.
Over the years their tally has included the blood donor lorry and even one of their own council trucks when they were employed by the former Kennet District Council.
A Wiltshire Council spokeswoman said: “The council would not issue a parking ticket to a car that was clearly connected with a funeral and our officers are told to apply discretion at these times.
“However funeral cars are not exempt from parking restrictions and in this case the ticket was issued because the car was parked illegally and was not involved with a funeral at the time. The car was being cleaned on the side of the road, an activity not permitted on double yellow lines.
“The parking officer had spoken with the person involved prior to this incident but he continued to contravene the regulations and was therefore issued with a penalty charge notice.”