EdinburghAndrew Milligan/PA Wire

Lesley Mair, a 43 year old credit control manager, from Musselburgh, abandoned her car in a disabled bay on Portobello High Street near Edinburgh, after seeing a woman collapse and rushing to her aid.

When she returned to her car she was surprised to find she had been given a parking ticket. So how can this be right?


Penalised for helping

A report in the Edinburgh Evening News said that Mair had seen the woman lying face-down in the street and pulled over to help. However, after helping her into a nearby bank to recover, she spotted the wardens.

She told the newspaper: "It was while we were in there I noticed I was getting a parking ticket – it had been a matter of moments. My only concern was for the lady on the street, I wasn't looking where I was parking."

The firm that manages the city's parking attendants said they were satisfied with the behaviour of their parking attendant. Councillor Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh's transport convener, said, however: "If Miss Mair was assisting with a medical emergency, we will of course cancel the ticket when she raises it with us."

Keen wardens

It seems, therefore, as though there will be a happy outcome to this story. However, it goes to show how keen wardens are to give tickets. As the Daily Record pointed out, Edinburgh's parking wardens hit the headlines in 2003 for booking a hearse.

And it's not just in Edinburgh. As we reported last year, local councils have been handing our record numbers of parking tickets, despite cutting back on traffic wardens. There were a total of 6.8 million tickets issued in 2011 - one every 4.6 seconds. Money raised totalled more than £234 million.

There are those who would argue that it's no coincidence that councils are strapped for cash at the same time as they suddenly start raking in more money from parking fines.

It's not just cars they see as cash cows. As we recently reported, the number of litter penalties has soared too: from little more than 700 in 1997 to 63,883 last year. That's an 8,687% increase.

Crazy fines

And with such a flurry of fines, there are bound to be some baffling decisions that make the headlines. As we reported last summer, one warden in Appledore in Devon decided to clamp a car pulling a lifeboat - after the driver popped back in to pick up some paperwork.

And let us not forget that Lambeth Council hit the headlines a few years back after ticketing the team who went to help the whale in the Thames. Or that Anthony Mottram, 51 of Wandsworth in London, was given a parking ticket in January last year after he stopped to give first aid to a motorcyclist who was trapped under his bike in the middle of the road.

But have you been fined recently? Was it fair? Or are wardens looking for any excuse to slap motorists with a ticket? Let us know in the comments.