Police step up town patrols

A policeman inspects the cars parked in Alnwick Market Place.
A policeman inspects the cars parked in Alnwick Market Place.

POLICE are to step up patrols in Alnwick Market Place, warning motorists they face fines if parking illegally.

New Alnwick Neighbourhood Police Inspector Paul Truscott jumped into action when concerns about the area being used as a car park were raised at Alnwick Town Council last week.

Coun Geoff Watson asked when the police would ‘stop ignoring the dangers in the Market Place and start enforcing the law?’

The Market Place is currently being used as a car park when markets and events are not taking place.

But parking in the area is illegal. It is governed by a loading and unloading order, which if broken is seen as a moving traffic offence and only enforceable by police rather than the county council.

Coun Gordon Castle said: “To prove the offence a police officer in uniform must observe a vehicle enter and leave the Market Place without loading or unloading.”

Because of the concerns Insp Truscott sent an officer to the area on Friday morning.

He said: “It is a real issue, we need to be creative and innovative about this.”

An officer was in the Market Place on Friday and warned drivers that they faced fines if they parked illegally in the area.

But when the officer left it filled up with cars again.

Coun Castle added on Friday: “I am pleased that the police are doing their best to assist but it is not a long-term solution.”

A working group has been set up to assess the problems with representatives from Alnwick Town Council, Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Police as well as others.