A TRAFFIC warden gave a funeral limousine a parking ticket as it waited for grieving mourners to leave a church service.
One of Edinburgh’s infamously uncompromising wardens gave the funeral car the ticket on Friday morning and came close to slapping a ticket on the other limousine.
The warden only stopped when an outraged member of the public appeared and started taking photographs of the scene.
The funeral director was shocked by the incident outside St Andrew’s and St George’s church in the city centre.
Edinburgh council has now backed down and scrapped the £60 ticket, blaming the warden for not understanding the rules.
The council earns around £6 million a year from parking fines. In 2005 the number of fines topped a quarter of a million.
John Purves, director of William Purves funeral company, said the limousine was obviously part of the funeral cortège.
He said: “There was a hearse and two limousines waiting outside the church.
“The back door of the hearse was open, waiting for the coffin.
“The funeral director came out and saw the traffic warden was busy booking the last car.
“The funeral director had a word with him but he was going to book the other limousine.
“Then a member of the public took a picture, the warden wasn’t very happy about that.”
He said the ticketing showed a lack of judgement, and said the company had never had a car ticketed while waiting added: “It doesn’t seem terribly wise.
“I think the traffic warden wasn’t using his judgement at the time.
“I don’t think we were abusing the rules. We’ve never run into this problem before.”
“Normally the drivers will just have a word with the warden.”
Mr Purves said the funeral director at the service was able to make the warden see sense before the family left the church.
He said: “The family weren’t really aware of what went on. It’s not really something you want to drag them into.
“In the end they got into the car and everybody moved on.”
A spokeswoman for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “This parking ticket was issued in error and has now been cancelled. We apologise for any distress or concern this has caused.”
The council added that the tram works on Princes Street meant George Street, where the funeral was taking place, was busier than usual.
This means no cars are allowed to stop at any time, though the warden was not aware of the exemption on funeral vehicles.
In 2003 an Edinburgh traffic warden’s decision to ticket a hearse waiting to go to a funeral provoked outrage.
Philip Spencer, regional manager of another Edinburgh funeral company, McKenzie & Millar, said at the time: “We are absolutely outraged by what’s happened.
“It’s unnecessary, insensitive and, as far as I’m concerned, we are exempt from parking restrictions.”
The council said the hearse did not have a coffin in it and no staff were nearby, so the ticket was justified.