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4/25/2008
UK: Meter Maids Given Spy Equipment
Being rude to a meter maid results in a $160 ticket in Essex, UK as ticket writers given hidden microphones.

UK meter maid
The Castle Point Borough Council in Essex, UK announced Monday that it had equipped its meter maids with hidden recording devices. Microphones will preserve every conversation with motorists for the purpose of issuing £80 (US $160) tickets to any that might use "abusive language" toward a meter maid.

"We understand that sometimes emotions run high when parking tickets are issued, but would ask residents to stay calm and understand that our officers are simply doing their jobs," borough Chief Executive David Marchant said. "Being rude or violent towards our staff will not stop the ticket and could land you with an even bigger fine and possibly a criminal record."

Earlier this month, a microphone recorded the first bit of naughty language to earn the new citation. It was issued to a construction worker who told a meter maid what he thought about the £35 (US $70) he would have to pay for allegedly parking in the wrong spot at Benfleet Station. The meter maid called a police officer over to the scene to administer the citation for being rude. A second motorist received a similar ticket for the words he uttered after being accused of parking on a yellow line on Elm Road in Canvey.

Castle Park participates in the Accredited Persons Scheme which allows meter maids to issue tickets for more than just parking. Meter maids can now issue citations for so-called lower-level anti-social behaviors such as graffiti, riding a bicycle on a footpath, littering and consuming alcohol in designated public places. Meter maids must be tested to qualify for the additional ticket-writing powers.



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