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Fury as ‘jobsworth’ traffic warden tries to slap parking ticket on a funeral cortège waiting outside a church


Fury has erupted after a ‘jobsworth’ traffic warden tried to slap a parking ticket on a funeral cortège waiting outside a church.

Appalled mourners emerged from the send-off at Welwyn Garden City United Reformed Church in Hertfordshire to find parking enforcers about to pounce.

Funeral director Justin Burgess said: ‘We were parked outside the church with a hearse and two limousines, attending a funeral inside the church.

‘It’s very limited where you can park funeral vehicles to get access to a church. This particular church is on the side of a road – that’s the only place there is to park.

‘I came out at the end of a service. I saw the traffic warden there and he got his little pad out to start ticketing us and I said. “You’ve got to be joking”.

Appalled mourners emerged from a funeral at Welwyn Garden City United Reformed Church in Hertfordshire to find a parking warden threatening to issue a ticket

Funeral director Justin Burgess, pictured here with a Penalty Charge Notice previously handed out, has shared footage online of the latest clash what he called a 'jobsworth' official

Funeral director Justin Burgess, pictured here with a Penalty Charge Notice previously handed out, has shared footage online of the latest clash what he called a ‘jobsworth’ official

After the family of the woman whose funeral it was were ready to depart, the cortège managed to leave before a ticket was issued

After the family of the woman whose funeral it was were ready to depart, the cortège managed to leave before a ticket was issued

‘I said, “We’re only going to be 10 to 15 minutes more, can you just go for a walk round the block?”

‘He said, “No”. I said, “Have a bit of compassion, this is a funeral”, and he started remonstrating with me.’

Hoping to avoid a scene, Mr Burgess went inside to check on the family of the deceased, who had lingered in the church.

But the traffic warden was unmoved and he was photographing the licence plates when Mr Burgess emerged again.

When challenged, the parking enforcer summoned a colleague for back-up and called in to ‘head office’, the funeral director said.

Mr Burgess added: ‘The woman on the other end of the phone was just vile. She was saying, “Just ticket them, just ticket them, they’re breaking the law”.

‘And I sort of shouted over his shoulder, I said, “Look, as I explained to your colleague here, please have a little bit of feeling – this is a funeral, this is the last thing the family wants”. And she said, ‘Right, that’s it, I’m calling the police”.

‘Unfortunately, in the meantime, the next of kin came out and they were really upset. She said, “Are you seriously going to put a ticket on my mum’s hearse? I can’t believe you’re doing this to us”.

With the family of the deceased now ready to depart, the cortège made a quick escape before a ticket was issued.

Mr Burgess said: ‘Had we not stood and argued all that time we would have had a ticket, but we just argued and argued, by which time we were ready to leave.

‘We’ve got another church, in Hatfield by the station, and it’s almost like they’re waiting in the bushes. The minute the mourners park, they’re out issuing their tickets. I think it’s just a jobsworth doing his job.

The funeral director shared photos of the encounter online, showing even the church’s vicar appealing to the warden.

Locals responded by raging, ‘Absolutely disgusting’, and ‘Anyone who has a brain or a heart would look the other way’.

The vicar officiating at the send-off was also seen discussing the threat with the warden

Ministers have faced renewed calls to get tough on private firms issuing parking fines

Ministers have faced renewed calls to get tough on private firms issuing parking fines

One lady remarked: ‘It does not matter that no ticket was issued – he caused a grieving family more stress on a day when no one should be hassled, I’m sorry but it’s disgusting on every level.’

Another wrote: ‘I’d like to see the council staff park further down the road and have to carry a coffin, especially in this weather. They should be able to park as close as they can.

‘You never see the council vans or maintenance guys being ticketed like this when they park on all the grass verges and block roads and obstruct views.’

A page on the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council website lists parking exemptions and dispensations and says the council has discretion when it comes to funeral vehicles, including the hearse and cortège.

In a statement, the council said: ‘We are aware of an incident involving our parking contractor.

‘The contractor requested that a vehicle parked on a pedestrian crossing’s zig-zag lines, obstructing the view of pedestrians and approaching traffic, be moved to a safer location.

‘Whilst we do operate a dispensation for funeral vehicles, no vehicle can be given a dispensation to park on zig-zags.

‘This poses a safety risk to people crossing the road and could result in a serious accident.

‘The funeral party was not present when the contractor initially requested the vehicle to be moved and we want to reiterate that no parking tickets were issued.’

The statement continued: ‘We are deeply regretful that this situation caused distress to the funeral party and we have reached out to the family directly.

‘We have also asked the contractors to review their processes and training, to ensure that all officers can convey safety implications clearly and with the upmost sensitivity.’

MailOnline revealed last September how £1.1billion-worth of parking tickets were handed out by private companies last year, with the worst offenders uncovered.

Drivers were hit by a 29 per cent annual rise in the number of parking tickets issued in the 12 months to the end of last March, figures showed.

A record 11.1million tickets were issued in that period, according to analysis of Driver And Vehicle Licensing Agency data.

That was an average of more than 30,400 fines each day and up from the total of 8.6million during the previous year, while the tally was 6.8million five years ago.

Ministers have faced renewed calls to get tough on firms causing misery for millions of motorists amid the rising cost of living. 

A new code of practice was initially due to come into force across the UK by the end of last year, including a halving of the cap on tickets to £50.

Other suggested measures included a ban on debt collectors hounding motorists who do not pay within a time limit and a compulsory 10-minute grace period before firms can issue a fine to drivers whose tickets have expired.

It was originally laid before Parliament in February 2022 but was withdrawn by the Government five months later following a legal challenge by parking companies and further consultation was ordered. 

Disabled pensioner Derrick Walker was slapped with a £100 fine in Shireoaks, Nottinghamshire

Disabled pensioner Derrick Walker was slapped with a £100 fine in Shireoaks, Nottinghamshire

Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford was last month seen getting a parking ticket on his McLaren 765LT

It was the second ticket within weeks for the international striker

It was the second ticket within weeks for the international striker

Among recent parking fine cases, a pensioner suffering from Parkinson’s disease was slapped with a £100 sanction as tremors caused by his condition meant he was unable to download an app to pay for a ticket in time.

Derrick Walker, 73, of Shireoaks in Nottinghamshire, was handed the hefty parking charge for taking too long to register on the car park’s app.

Manchester United and England footballer Luke Shaw’s £180,000 Lamborghini has been pictured racking up £240-worth of parking tickets at Wilmslow train station.

And his club and international team-mate Marcus Rashford has also been hit, witha pair of parking tickets elsewhere in Cheshire within weeks.



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