Black art of avoiding an Enforcer's ticket

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A MOTORIST has continued to park without penalty on double yellow lines outside his front door by simply painting over them.

By covering a car-length section of the road markings in Upper Craigour with black paint, he has managed to avoid 60 parking fines every night for the past two weeks.

Today the council and the city’s parking Enforcers admitted there is nothing they can do about it. But his neighbours are furious that he is being allowed to flout the law, while they are being forced to drive further afield to park their cars.

However, the Enforcers - who have previously ticketed motorists on double yellow lines which had faded away - said today they could not ticket the car because the lines were no longer visible and there are no notices displayed on lampposts indicating parking restrictions.

The council in turn said the matter was a case for the police, who are powerless unless they can prove who painted over the yellow lines.

The situation has left neighbours - many of whom asked for new parking restrictions after the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh brought extra traffic into the area - angry and confused.

Since the lines were painted over, residents say the same car has been parked there overnight every day for more than two weeks.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "This guy is flouting the law and antagonising everybody in the street by parking his vehicle there.

"He has said that if they paint the lines back, he will just paint over them.

"The residents are very upset and the parking Enforcers say they have been inundated with complaints about it, but they say there is nothing they can do and that it is up to the council."

Angry residents had contacted the police, only to be told there was nothing they could do unless there were witnesses to prove who painted over the yellow lines, he added.

"By painting the lines out, this guy is encouraging people to do the same thing.

"If nothing can be done about it, what is to stop someone going into Princes Street, painting over the lines there and parking. It’s ridiculous," he said.

The situation has left local city councillor Sheila Gilmore frustrated as well.

Cllr Gilmore said: "The yellow lines were put down after due process.

"There was only one objection; the majority of the people in the street wanted it.

"Everyone has different views on things, and legitimate disagreement is one thing, but taking matters into your own hands is another.

"The majority of residents were relieved when the lines went on.

"I can’t believe there’s not something that can be done here and I have asked the director of city development to see what can be done."

But the Enforcers said that they were powerless to punish the rebel motorist.

A spokeswoman for Central Parking Systems, the company which employs the Enforcers, said: "The parking attendants can only issue penalty charge notices where the parking restriction is properly marked or signed.

"In this case it is not properly marked or signed so we cannot issue a penalty notice."

And she added that it was up to Edinburgh City Council to deal with the situation. But a city council spokeswoman said that the local authority had no powers to punish someone for painting over the lines.

She said: "Legislation allows us to enforce parking contraventions, but it does not give us the power to stop people doing what could be criminal behaviour.

"If someone obscures a line like that we can only report it to the police, and we have done that."

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police said she could not comment on individual cases.

However, she added: "It is an offence to paint or otherwise inscribe on the surface of a road under the Road Scotland Act and if a complaint is made to us we would investigate that."

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