Outraged Graveney residents claimed the Liberal Democrats stole credit for a resident-led campaign on lorries for their own political gain.

Rectory Lane became one of the first roads in the borough to be patrolled with mobile CCTV units to catch illegal lorries after residents petitioned the council.

It was a victory for activists, until the Wandsworth Liberal Democrats seemingly claimed credit for the move in a letter distributed two weeks ago.

The party has since apologised and said the leaflet was worded unclearly, but residents accused them of jumping on the bandwagon.

David Whitehouse, who led the campaign, said: “We bothered to get out and do something and someone else has tried to steal our thunder.

"We just wanted to feel, as ordinary people, we had made our street a safer place to live.”

The 51-year-old office manager and his neighbours collected 103 signatures asking for road repairs and the enforcement of a lorry ban.

When the transportation overview and scrutiny committee granted their requests in April, the report referred to just one petition – theirs.

However, two weeks ago the Liberal Democrats distributed a letter reading: “Thank you to the 104 residents of Rectory Lane who signed our petition to the council calling on them to enforce the ban of heavy lorries using Rectory Lane illegally.

“The Planning and Transportation Committee has discussed the issue and has agreed to carry out some surveillance…”

This week the Liberal Democrats said they submitted a petition, but admitted it went in later and was not the reason for the council resolution.

Matthew Green, chairman of the Battersea and Tooting branch, said: “In hindsight it [the letter] could have been more clearly worded.

“The letter was factually correct. Although it may be read as taking credit.”

He said the party had been working on the lorries issue since last summer and denied it was taking undue credit for political gain.

A clarification will be published in the next edition of the party newsletter.

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