PARKING attendants at a Bournemouth shopping centre have received death threats from enraged motorists caught on camera using disabled bays.

And it’s not just verbal abuse Castlepoint’s parking enforcement team has to contend with. One able-bodied motorist ended up in court after trying to mow down a shocked attendant who had slapped a parking charge notice on his vehicle.

Despite a dramatic fall in the number of shoppers caught flouting parking regulations since fines were introduced four years ago, Castlepoint’s manager Peter Matthews is calling on customers to show more respect for disabled drivers.

He told the Daily Echo: “Four years ago parking in the disabled bays without a valid badge was a major problem here, with up to 40 cars a day wrongly parked.

“We tried politely asking motorists to move but sadly it made no difference until inconsiderate drivers were hit in the pocket. It was never my intention to fine anyone but it’s done the trick and disabled bays are now readily available.

“There are almost 3,000 parking spaces at Castlepoint and, even on our busiest days, there is no excuse for using a disabled bay, if you don’t need one. The number of notices issued has dropped from about 15 a day to one a day.

“What selfish drivers don’t realise is that £10 of their £60 fine is ploughed back into improving Castlepoint’s disabled facilities.”

If drivers caught using a disabled bay, without a valid blue badge, refuse to pay £60 within ten days the fine rises to £100. If they still don’t pay up they will be taken to the small claims court. A spokesman for Bournemouth-based Devere Parking Services, who carry out parking enforcement at Castlepoint, did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals.

He said: “Sadly some people get so incensed they will just not accept they are wrong, even when we have the evidence to prove it. We’ve even had death threats left on our phone helpline. The people we’ve caught parked in disabled bays, without good reason, have included doctors, nurses, vicars, solicitors and even a local JP.

“These are people who should know better but think they can get away with it; young women are the worst offenders. I’ve heard every excuse.”