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Magherafelt tops the table for parking fines per capita of its population, new study shows

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Between January and December 2019 Magherafelt had the highest rate of offending with a total of 3,675 parking offences for a population of 8,805 (41.7%). [stock image]

Between January and December 2019 Magherafelt had the highest rate of offending with a total of 3,675 parking offences for a population of 8,805 (41.7%). [stock image]

Between January and December 2019 Magherafelt had the highest rate of offending with a total of 3,675 parking offences for a population of 8,805 (41.7%). [stock image]

Motorists in Magherafelt are Northern Ireland's worst offenders for illegal parking, figures suggest.

People in the Mid Ulster town had the highest rate of infringements last year.

New research from road markings supplier BPF Road Markings found that, per capita, it was the most ticketed place.

Between January and December 2019 Magherafelt had the highest rate of offending with a total of 3,675 parking offences for a population of 8,805 (41.7%).

Of these, off-street parking accounted for 1,920 offences compared to 1,755 for on-street offences.

Second was Newry, which saw 11,175 parking offences for a population of 26,967 (41.4%).

A total of 8,214 were for on-street offences compared to Newry’s off-street total of 2,961.

Enniskillen came in third with just over 28% of the population committing 3,902 offences (2,045 off-street and 1,857 on-street).

Omagh was in fourth place with a total of 4,458 offences (2,347 off-street and 2,111 on-street) for a population of 19,659.

Belfast saw the greatest total of parking offences, with 51,308 during the year, of which 46,879 were for on-street offences.

Despite this Belfast was only ranked fifth in the overall list when compared with the population (22.3%).

Also included in the top 10 were Armagh, Strabane, Newcastle, Holywood and Ballymena.

Roisin Maguire, from BPF Road Markings, said: “Evidently, it’s not that those who live in these towns are racking up the parking offences, but a combination between residents and visitors.

“As to why Magherafelt is seeing a heightened number compared to larger cities may have something to do with a lack of parking options or shorter parking allowances.”

Responding to the figures, a Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokesperson said: “The population size of a town has no bearing on the issue of penalty charge notices.

“Traffic attendants are deployed to those places where they will have the most impact on road safety and traffic progression.

“Enforcement of parking restrictions aims to reduce the number of illegally-parked vehicles, which in turn reduces traffic congestion, improves road safety, frees up space and improves accessibility for all road users, including Blue Badge holders. It is the responsibility of the vehicle driver to park in accordance with legislated restrictions and any vehicle found contravening these restrictions may be issued with a penalty charge notice.”

Each parking ticket costs drivers £90 - reduced to £45 if paid within 14 days.

Last year drivers in Northern Ireland contested at least 200 parking tickets.

Common excuses included entering the wrong registration number, failing to understand instructions on signs, and confusion about the grace periods allowed before and after parking a vehicle.

Belfast Telegraph