Traffic warden tickets plumber fixing gas leak

A PLUMBER attending an emergency gas leak has described a traffic warden’s decision to give him a ticket as “stupid”.

Self-employed plumber Mark Wallace, 39, of Finedon, rushed to the scene of the gas leak at a flat in Midland Road, Wellingborough, after receiving a frantic call from the occupant who was unable to turn off the source of leaking gas.

After arriving within 10 minutes, Mr Wallace parked up in an area of Midland Road covered by a residents parking permit scheme, but put a note in his window to explain the severity of the emergency situation.

After switching off the gas he returned to his van, only to find a traffic warden issuing him with a ticket.

He said: “I rushed to her and was there within 10 minutes. All I could think about was getting there quickly. When I came out of the flat they had put a ticket on my van.”

Mr Wallace explained that he was there working on an emergency major gas leak. But the traffic warden told him that it “wasn’t her problem”.

“She said not parking illegally was more important than a major gas leak,” said Mr Wallace. “She said it was a permit area, but I did put a sign in my windscreen.

“I know they have got a job to do, but this decision was just idiotic. This was a major gas leak, it could have been really nasty. There’s no reason to be so stupid.”

Mr Wallace now intends to appeal against the fine, which is £35, or £75 if not paid within the first fortnight.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council, which is the local authority responsible for parking wardens in Wellingborough, said: “Anyone who has received a parking ticket is entitled to appeal and this is considered by an experienced parking investigation officer, who is employed by the council. If this appeal is rejected, drivers have the right to appeal to a parking adjudicator – however, this means that the full fine amount is payable. A parking adjudicator is an experienced lawyer and is independent of the council – their decision is final and both parties must adhere to the decision made.”