Just when you thought Lambeth Council parking stories could not get any more bizarre, it has emerged the local authority tried to take itself to court over an unpaid parking fine.
Lambeth issued a court summons to enforce a penalty charge notice (PCN) slapped on the windscreen of one of its own vehicles, by one of its own wardens.
The strange tale was revealed through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, that also showed between March 2005 and March 2010, the council issued 52 PCNs to its vehicles.
They included park ranger vehicles and company cars.
Some 18 of the fines were paid, and 28 were cancelled, while six PCNs are currently showing as “outstanding” on the council's system.
But one saw the council issue a warrant to take one of its own employee to the appeals tribunal.
A council spokesman said it had been a mistake due to a “breakdown in communication” that meant the situation could be resolved beforehand.
It is not believed extensive costs were incurred in the cock-up.
A council spokesman said the tickets were issued because council staff also had to adhere to parking laws.
He said: "In this one particular case a ticket ended up being referred to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service by mistake.
"There was a breakdown in communication and normal sense dictates it should not have got to this stage, and been resolved beforehand.
"Our residents would not thank us if they felt council staff were getting special treatment.”
He said the number of tickets issued to council staff in five years was “miniscule”, meaning most council employees did set a good example, while those who did not were treated the same as anyone else.
“This is simply about being fair, and being seen to be fair, to everyone,” he said.
The revelation is the latest in a line of Lambeth parking stories that have left the town hall red-faced.
They include a Shropshire pensioner being given a parking ticket by Lambeth in July 2008 despite not setting foot in London for more than 30 years.
In 2009 Lambeth Council carefully lifted a car parked in a street to paint yellow lines underneath it, only to then tow it away for being illegally parked.
It also won a bad parking enforcement practice award in 2004 for slapping a ticket on a mangled bike that had been in an accident minutes before, while the Wandsworth councillor who had been riding it was receiving treatment for a broken leg yards away.
And in December 2008, a Lambeth parking warden was snapped seemingly issuing a ticket to the Batmobile, parked outside the ITV studios in Waterloo.
However, this particular incident turned out to be a hoax, and the Batmobile drove away without a fine.