A MARKET trader has accused Kirklees Council of changing its rules for loading bays to catch people out.
Malcolm Tattersley said he was fined for being in a bay beside Dewsbury Market for 10 minutes, even though there were no restrictions on how long could be spent unloading.
The sign on the loading bay in Whitehall Way says loading is allowed between 4pm and 9am.
But it does not warn drivers of any limits on the length of stay.
Mr Tattersley said: “If they want us to play the game, can we be told the rules before we play? They shouldn’t make them up as they go along.”
He got a ticket when he was trading on April 15.
“I had just finished unloading the stall,” he said. “I went to the toilet, got a cuppa for the person running the stall and went back to the car to move it.
“Lo and behold! What do I see? One of those aliens on the beat placing a ticket on my car.”
Mr Tattersley said the warden told him that he was getting a ticket because there had been no sign of activity around the car for 10 minutes.
When Mr tattersley challenged the fine, the council said people only had 30 minutes to unload – but neither rule was on the sign.
A council spokesman said traffic regulation orders were clear in the market area.
He said: “We can assure people there are absolutely not any ‘hidden rules’.”
He said drivers had 30 minutes for loading and vehicles should only be in the loading bay if the driver was loading.
“Traffic regulations need to be enforced for the benefit of all motorists,” he added.
Mr Tattersley, of Ossett, said: “They’re driving people away from Dewsbury. Distributing tickets for trivial misdemeanours is not the answer to attracting people to the town.”
But the council spokesman said leading Kirklees out of recession was its priority and it worked to support the town.