CHARITY and business owners have blasted the attitude of traffic wardens in the town centre, claiming many are overzealous in issuing tickets.

Les Cliff, owner of Framearound in Bank Street, has also criticised the town’s enforcement officers for ticketing one of his customers while she was parked on private land.

The 59-year-old said he has grown frustrated in recent months after a running battle with the wardens, and said his business was starting to suffer.

He said: “It’s got to the stage where I’m sick and tired of it happening again and again. I had one lady who had been in the shop for five minutes and she got a ticket.

“I find the attitude of these traffic wardens just smug. They don’t even come into the shop and ask how long the customers will be.”

He added: “It’s driving customers away from my business, and they are few and far between coming to Bolton anyway.”

Mr Cliff, who has owned the Bank Street shop for 31 years, has now put a sign outside his shop explaining that the land is privately owned and that customers have a right to park there, in the hope it will stop wardens issuing tickets.

He has also sent a letter to Bolton Council asking that officers try to resolve the situation.

Darren Armstrong, owner of the Churchgate based Be Strong charity, said the issue was making his work harder.

He explained: “We help to rehabilitate ex-offenders and traffic wardens are always telling us to move our van from outside. So I go out and move it and by the time I’ve come back, the lads have lost concentration and we have to start again.

“It’s just an ongoing problem. We’re a charity trying to serve the community and help people.”

Conservative councillor Andrew Morgan said he had been made aware of the problem and has called on the council to do more to support charities and businesses in the town.

He said: “They’re doing their job as directed, but we need, as a council, to give some new instructions and allow vehicles to unload and allow people to go about their business.”

But Labour councillor Derek Burrows, while praising the work of businesses and charities in the town, said the council couldn’t start making exemptions for individual businesses.

He added: “We all face these problems when we go into this town or other towns and that’s what we have to deal with, if we can’t park somewhere then we look for the nearest place we can.”