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Traffic warden attacked in Belfast city centre ticket row

By Deborah McAleese

Published 15/10/2015

Traffic wardens at the scene of the incident off Royal Avenue yesterday
Traffic wardens at the scene of the incident off Royal Avenue yesterday

A woman has been reported to police after a traffic warden was attacked in Belfast city centre in a dispute over a parking ticket.

The male traffic warden was in the process of issuing a parking ticket yesterday afternoon when a female motorist ran aggressively towards him and attempted to hit and kick him.

She then drove off and threw the ticket out of the car window, witnesses said.

The dispute lasted for several minutes in front of shocked bystanders in the busy Royal Avenue area of the city shortly before 12.30pm.

The woman fled the scene when several traffic wardens responded to a call for assistance from their colleague.

According to one witness, the woman was "furious" with the traffic warden.

"I saw a woman recording the traffic warden as he took photographs and write the ticket," the witness said.

"She then started yelling and shouting at him. She completely lost it and went for him. She hit out at him and tried to kick him.

"I think he managed to jump out of the way when she tried to kick him but from what I could see she gave him a good whack with her fist or her hand."

Another witness said: "I heard all this yelling and banging and I looked over and saw someone jump into a car and speed off. I heard her yelling "you f***ing b*****d or something like that at the traffic warden. The next minute another three or four traffic wardens came running up."

NSL, the private firm that provides parking wardens across Northern Ireland, said that following an incident of verbal abuse towards one of its traffic attendants, it is "assisting police with their inquiries and supporting the member of staff during this difficult time".

A spokesman added: "NSL works very hard to support, train and equip our colleagues with the skills and qualifications they need to minimise these incidents.

"We firmly believe it is wrong to abuse people who are delivering an important service of keeping traffic flowing. Nobody should be treated badly for doing their job."

A PSNI spokeswoman appealed for information, adding: "Police received a report that at approximately 12.20pm on Wednesday, 14 October a man was assaulted by a female whilst in the Library Street area of Belfast."

Ukip MLA David McNarry said that "traffic wardens, like all public servants, should be able to go about their jobs without fear of attack or intimidation.

"This is disgraceful behaviour. The police and courts need to show this sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated."

The courts have previously taken a robust approach to attacks on traffic wardens.

An Audi driver in Enniskillen was jailed for two months for hitting a warden with a parking ticket he had been issued with.

The man was parked illegally when the traffic attendant issued him with a ticket. Fermanagh magistrates jailed the motorist in 2013 after he admitted assault.

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