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Blocked in

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I had a frustrating experience the other night. Coming to where I had parked my car while visiting friends, I discovered that it was blocked in. The car behind was a few centimetres away and the one in front was pretty much on the bumper. I once had a similar experience (20+ years ago) so I was fairly confident I could work my way out – as long as you can gain a few centimetres each time and aren’t fussy about nudging the other cars it is just a matter of time and patience – but Jane knocked on a couple of doors and roused a resident who, grudgingly, came and move the car at the front a little further away (not enough to make it an easy exit but at least enough).

Was the road parked up solid? It was fairly full but not completely occupied. I think some of the residents had just taken umbrage at somebody parking in ‘their’ bay. However, I was scrupulous about checking that we were outside of the restricted times. A little further research suggests they were breaking section 54 of the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012). You can’t, without lawful authority,┬árestrict the movement of a motor vehicle by any means (including parking too close), intending to prevent or inhibit the removal of the vehicle by a person otherwise entitled to remove it. Yes, those courses I did which involved reading parts of the UK statute books have given me sharp research skills.

I took photos of the offending vehicles and have reported the matter to the Police – without the photos or the intention to press the case for now but wanting to make sure it is registered. If the residents often act in such a way, there needs to be a catalogue of problems to give grounds for action to be taken. I could have been on my own, vulnerable or in need of a quick exit. I could equally have been aggressive, ready to call up a mate with a 4×4 (within the law, as far as I read POFA 2012) or damage the offending vehicles (definitely outside). Either way, scope for real harm to be done if it continues to fester.

Would I park there again? Yes, I think I would as it was a legitimate space at a legitimate time and often about as near to the friends we visited as we can get. I would, if possible, try to pick a spot where I couldn’t be blocked in without a blocking vehicle having to obstruct the highway but thuggish mentality needs to be faced up to by those who can (and I now also know that I can call the Police’s non-emergency 101 number to report it straight away).