Northern Ireland

Belfast parking fines put brakes on Wirral pensioners' charity moped trip

Pensioner charity trip moped fines
Image caption The Parking and Enforcement Agency has cancelled the fines

A charity moped trip by a group of pensioners has hit the skids after 17 of the group were given parking fines in Belfast.

The pensioners, from the Wirral in north-west England, had hit the road in aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres.

On Tuesday morning, the group found they had been fined for parking on a pavement in the Titanic Quarter.

However, the group are now back in the saddle after the fines were rescinded.

Image caption Pat Keeling was one of the 17 pensioners fined for illegal parking

In a statement, the Parking and Enforcement Agency, who issued the fines, said: "Unfortunately our patrol operatives were not made aware of the charity event being held.

"As soon as we were informed of it, we cancelled all the fines issued."

Image caption Signs in the area indicated that parking was forbidden

The group, known as the Wirral Wobblers, had parked outside the hotel they were staying in on Monday night.

"When we woke up and went down to breakfast we found that every single moped had got a parking ticket on it," said Pat Keeling, one of the group.

"It's a sad day when you realise you've been fined more than you've collected," she added.

Image caption One of the trip's organisers, Ted Bemand, said the group's mopeds are 30 to 40 years old

The pensioners said that they believed they could park outside the hotel.

Signs in the area indicated that no parking was allowed at any time.

Overall, however, the group said that the week has been a two-wheeled success.

"Our average age is 70 and if you combine them it comes to 1,241 years," said Ted Bemand, the organiser of the trip.

Image caption Ted Bemand, one of the trip's organisers, said it had been a success despite the fines

"So we're cracking on a bit. Typically, our mopeds are 30 to 40 years old.

"We've driven through the snow, on the first day it snowed. It was no problem.

"We've had breakdowns, a few little crashes, punctures, engines seized up - and now the fines."

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