Coalisland on final 'final warning' for parking tickets
Motorists in Coalisland are on their final 'final warning' for parking tickets according to the Department For Infrastructure.
A parking fine has not been issued in the Co Tyrone town for the past six years, but now residents have been warned the next visit of the 'red coat' will result in financial penalties.
On Tuesday two traffic wardens patrolled the town, but instead of giving out Penalty Charge Notices (PCN), which carry a £90 fine, issued two 'warning notices' to motorists for breaching regulations.
A warning notice carries no financial penalty.
"This was the final patrol in which warning notices were to be issued instead of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) and two warning notices were issued," a spokesman for the department said.
"Traffic Attendants have patrolled Coalisland on two previous occasions this year, on August 22 and November 10. No PCNs have been issued to date," they added.
This week's patrol is only the third time this year traffic attendants have ventured into Coalisland, with the DUP's Maurice Morrow previously describing the town as a place where "traffic wardens are forbidden to enter".
On the November 10 patrol traffic wardens were subjected to verbal abuse and forced to leave, prompting a review and risk assessment from the Department for Infrastructure.
Local Sinn Féin councillor Niamh Doris said the "large majority" of people in Coalisland were "very thoughtful and considerate about where they park".
"Which is reflected in the fact that the traffic wardens have not issued a single parking ticket in the last four months that they have been here," she said.
"I do believe that people who park in a dangerous and inconsiderate manner do deserve to be penalised, however I think that the traffic wardens in Coalisland are not the best use of the departments finances, again reflected in the fact that no tickets have been issued yet, even in the Christmas period where there is a lot more traffic in the town than usual," she added.
Since 2010 no motorists in Coalisland have been issued with penalty notices, while other towns of a similar size and smaller have meanwhile received parking tickets, such as 39 penalties issued in Fivemiletown and 18 in Castlederg last year.
The PSNI however, has issued five parking tickets in Coalisland since 2010.
In defending the lack of parking tickets issued in the town road officials have said Coalisland does not have many restrictions to enforce, such as double-yellow lines.
They have also previously blamed politicians for opposing the creation of new parking restrictions.