Dangerous parkers in Sutton Coldfield were the target of a special operation by road traffic police teaming up with community bobbies.

Officers from West Midlands Police’s Road Harm Reduction team joined forces with Sutton Vesey PCSOs to crackdown on drivers parking their cars in dangerous locations in the Boldmere area.

The Park Safe operation has been run three times since the start of December and resulted in 117 dangerous parkers being prosecuted.

The move came following a recent ‘parking plonkers’ and ‘plonkwatch’ social media campaign in the Royal Town with the public encouraged to share photographs of errant parkers – something the police said they welcomed. Their message is: “Park it. Don’t plonk it.”

PC Mark Hosdson from West Midlands Police's Road Harm Reduction Team targeted motorists like this Nissan Juke driver as part of a dangerous parking operation in Sutton Coldfield
PC Mark Hosdson from West Midlands Police's Road Harm Reduction Team targeted motorists like this Nissan Juke driver as part of a dangerous parking operation in Sutton Coldfield

The operation – focusing on Boldmere, Wylde Green and Walmley – was intelligence-led and was prompted by members of the public who notified neighbourhood policing teams and the council about repeat parking offenders who were causing concern in communities. Sutton town councillor Paul Long (Sutton Vesey) helped the police co-ordinate which streets to target in Boldmere.

Two main issues were identified – motorists parking close to street corners, blocking fellow drivers’ line of sight at junctions and people parking on and blocking pavements, forcing pedestrians in to the road.

The first street targeted was Heathlands Road, which runs parallel to the busy Boldmere Road shopping area. A Nissan Juke driver was the first offender caught ‘plonking’ their car in a dangerous position at the corner of Redacre Road.

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While checking the cars parked nearby, a Seat Leon driver who said he was delivering for Amazon, parked next to the Nissan Juke in an equally dangerous spot, blocking the junction and was told he would be receiving an ‘intention to prosecute’ letter through the post.

PC Mark Hodson, from the Road Harm Reduction Team, who was leading the dangerous parking operation around Sutton Coldfield, told the Seat Leon driver: “I was prepared to park 30 yards down the road. You wouldn’t park here on your driving test would you.” He was read his rights and told a letter would follow in the post. The admonishment and evidence gathering took mere minutes.

While checking out the Nissan Juke, PC Mark Hodson saw a Seat Leon driver pull up alongside it at the junction at Redacre Road and Heathlands Road
While checking out the Nissan Juke, PC Mark Hodson saw a Seat Leon driver pull up alongside it at the junction at Redacre Road and Heathlands Road

PC Hodson said: “It’s laziness – why they park like this. It takes just a 10th a second for a child to step out and be hit.”

Larraine Stockdale – a carer working in Redacre Road – spoke of her anger at cars parking on the corner of Heathlands Road. Lorraine said she had a particular interest in road safety as her husband, Michael, was killed in a road accident 21 years while he was cycling in Scunthorpe.

“It was absolutely devastating for me and my four children – Callum, Gethan, Faron and Ethan,” the 50-year-old said.

Furious local resident Larraine Stockdale whose husband Michael was killed in a 'devastating' road accident welcomed the police initiative
Furious local resident Larraine Stockdale whose husband Michael was killed in a 'devastating' road accident welcomed the police initiative

“I am looking after an older gentlemen here and he’s having to go out on the road.

“Boldmere is a lovely area to shop. But all the time people are double parking. It needs sorting out.”

Further down Heathlands Road a cone was found blocking a parking space – akin to the Boswell family in 80s BBC show Bread! It was swiftly removed.

The team then decided to check another location – Sheffield Road – which was highlighted as another bad parking hotspot. While driving along Boldmere Road PC Mark Hodson spotted a red VW Polo parked blocking the pavement. The offender was a worker from a care home for elderly people – making the decision to park blocking access, even more unfathomable.

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PC Hodson told the driver: “You work with vulnerable adults. People that need wheelchairs and mobility scooters to get around. And you have blocked the pavement.”

A little further down Boldmere Road and a Vauxhall Corsa driver was right up on the pavement blocking its use. They were parked outside the home of a mum Becky Mayhew, who has a one-year-old and often uses a buggy. She said: “That person parks there quite a lot and normally it is worse than this.

“She parks up by the bush so you have no option but to go in the road. I think she’s a nurse and leaves it there for a couple of house while she goes on visits. Work vans park there against the bush too. And it’s really bad on a Saturday morning when parents park to take their children to the sports field around the corner.”

This red VW Polo was parked illegally outside a care home with the driver potentially hindering access for wheelchair and mobility scooter users
This red VW Polo was parked illegally outside a care home with the driver potentially hindering access for wheelchair and mobility scooter users

And at Sheffield Road a Mini used as a delivery vehicle for one of the local businesses was parked on the pavement blocking the view to Boldmere Road. The driver said: “I am doing deliveries all the time.” But PC Hodson told the driver: “Is your time or your convenience worth risking people’s safety for?" To which he replied: "No".

Each of the offenders is set to receive a notice of intention to prosecute through the post. They will all face a £100 fine and receive three points on their driving licence for ‘leaving their motor vehicle in a dangerous position’.

PC Hodson said: “We can tell drivers ‘please don’t do it’. But until it effects them personally people will carry on doing it.

This Mini - used as a delivery vehicle by a local business was parked dangerously blocking sight lines at the junction of Boldmere Road and Sheffield Road
This Mini - used as a delivery vehicle by a local business was parked dangerously blocking sight lines at the junction of Boldmere Road and Sheffield Road

“People can park partially on pavements but not wholly as that would constitute an offence of driving on a footpath. The rule of thumb is that if a double buggy or wheelchair cannot pass with ease then that constitutes an offence.

“And when we find vehicles in a dangerous position and cannot trace the driver, we will remove the vehicle and the owner will be liable to pay for the recovery in addition to a fine.

“The way we do this now, there is little confrontation and our chief doesn’t want PCSOs to be confrontational. All they need to do is get a photo of the car parked illegally and the registration plate and we can do the paperwork in the office. It can all be done in 10 minutes.

“We tested this out in Washwood Heath and Alum Rock in East Birmingham and it’s worse there. They will park blocking the road for 10 minutes. We carried it out with Hodge Hill neighbourhood team and found 86 offenders.

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“We plan to train up neighbourhood police teams across the West Midlands so they can run dangerous parking operations themselves locally. These offences can be detected, evidenced and prosecuted in just minutes in the street.

“PCSOs will also be educating motorists and handing out warning leaflets in addition to the enforcement activity. We just want people to change their habits, park sensibly and legally, and by doing so cut the number of serious collisions on our roads.”

In Sutton 18 offenders were prosecuted and handed fines in the space of a couple of hours, while other inconsiderate motorists were given a warning that they risked prosecution if they don’t brush-up their parking habits.

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Sutton Coldfield town council Paul Long (Sutton Vesey, Ind.), who has championed the parking plonkers and plonk watch campaign, described the parking operation as ‘lifesaving’. He said: ““I have two young children aged nine-months and three years – and we have personal experience of being forced into the road with our children because drivers have parked, or dumped, their cars on pavements and we’ve not been able to pass with a buggy.

“It’s hugely irresponsible and dangerous. In recent years it seems to have been tolerated or even socially accepted – but we need to make it socially unacceptable and police operations like this, enforcing the law and protecting the public, are really important in getting that message across.

“I know through engagement with people in my constituency that tackling dangerous parking is a priority issue. It’s great to see West Midlands Police taking it seriously…this operation is potentially life-saving.”

This Vauxhall Corsa driver will be receiving a 'notice of intention to prosecute' for parking dangerously across the pavement in Boldmere Road outside the home of a mum who uses a buggy
This Vauxhall Corsa driver will be receiving a 'notice of intention to prosecute' for parking dangerously across the pavement in Boldmere Road outside the home of a mum who uses a buggy

Fellow Sutton Vesey city and town councillor Rob Pocock (Labour) added: "All congratulations to our great West Midlands Police team for getting to grips with this growing problem of dangerous parking in Sutton Vesey. Independent councillor Paul Long also deserves a big thanks for all he has done to mobilise this major operation today.

"Hopefully the message will start to sink in amongst that irresponsible minority of drivers who cause the rest of the community so much distress."

Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act states it is an offence to leave a vehicle or trailer on a road in such a position as to cause a danger to other road users – including parking wholly on footpaths – with offenders facing penalty points and fines of up to £1,000.

Anyone wanting to raise concerns about dangerous or hazardous parking can contact a local neighbourhood police team via the West Midlands Police website .