Web site censored over pictures of traffic wardens

Meter maids 'harassed, alarmed and distressed'

Traffic wardens in Canterbury, Kent say they have been "harassed, alarmed and distressed" by a Web site lampooning their activities.

Local residents set up the site Canterbury Parking Clowns to protest at the parking policies of Canterbury City Council and its "over zealous [traffic] wardens".

They claim high parking fees and miles of double yellow lines are "killing" the historic city.

The City Council disagrees and maintains its policies are preventing the city being turned into one giant car park.

However, the site featured pictures of the traffic wardens at work, which proved too much for the council.

When it complained to site host Freeserve, the giant ISP wrote to those behind Canterbury Parking Clowns and told them that, because of concerns about libel action, it would suspend the site on Friday July 5 unless the offending pictures were removed.

The site - which includes a story about how a nurse received a parking ticket as she attended a nearby car accident - was relocated to a new site here.

However, the police became involved and warned the site's owner that the publication of the photos is deemed an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Police also warned that the widespread use of the term "Parking Clowns" to describe the traffic wardens is also unsatisfactory since it could lead to a "breach of the peace and possible violence".

As a result those behind the site have removed all photographs of the traffic wardens and any method of parking attendant identification.

Amusingly, though, in some cases the images have been replaced by a photo of the buffoon gendarme from the hit TV comedy series 'Allo 'Allo.

A spokeswoman for Canterbury City Council said it would continue to monitor the site to ensure everything was above board.

No one from the protest site was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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