THEY installed the parking meters, hired the traffic wardens and started collecting the cash.

But it appears Bournemouth council forgot one little thing in its haste to start making money from on-street parking – making it a legal requirement for motorists to display a ticket.

The oversight, spotted by an independent adjudicator last year, is the reason why Bournemouth council suspended enforcement of its on-street parking zones on September 7.

However, the meters have not been taken out of operation and in the past four months, they have generated hundreds of thousands of pounds for the council, even though motorists had absolutely no chance of receiving a fine.

The council has previously given little information as to why it decided to take the drastic step, describing it simply as a “technical issue with legal documentation behind parking enforcement at a particular area.”

But the Echo has now seen the adjudicator’s decision, who said he could not find a traffic regulation order specifying the display of a pay and display ticket.

Mike Holmes, the council’s service director for planning and transport, said the issue was a “grey area” as other appeal adjudicators had found in the council’s favour.

“Each decision made by an adjudicator is made on a case by case basis and is not binding,” he said.

“It is interesting to note that different adjudicators looking into PCNs from a similar time and similar location upheld the decision of the council to issue a PCN and therefore this has highlighted a grey area in the legal documentation.

“This grey area is in respect to the specific need to display a ticket once purchased. It was and still remains a legal requirement for a motorist to pay for parking.

“As a result the council is now reviewing its legal documents and in the meantime we will not be enforcing in respect to on-street pay and display parking while this review takes place.”

He added that enforcement could be reinstated at any time without notice and advised motorists to continue buying parking tickets.