People who have concerns about vehicles being “obstructively parked” should report them to police, not take the law into their own hands.
The warning comes after reports that a number of cars parked at Kenlis Street and Bannview Road have been ‘keyed’ - the paintwork deliberately scratched with a sharp metal object - in recent weeks.
One disgruntled driver contacted the Leader this week to stress that there are two sides to the parking issue in the town.
The man, who didn’t want to be named, said someone had ‘keyed’ his car, and those belonging to other drivers parked along streets in the area.
The Gilford man, who parks in Banbridge every morning to catch a lift to work in Belfast, revealed how three weeks ago his Toyota Corolla was one of a number of cars parked on Bannview Road that were deliberately damaged.
And last Tuesday, May 23, he returned to his car to find it had happened again - this time a metre-long scrape along the driver’s side of his car. He estimates it will cost him £300 or £400 to repair the damage.
“I’ve been parking on up the road for years with no problems, but I had to move the car after they started working on the park and ride,” he explained.
“The first time it happened I was blocking the footpath a bit, but there was still room to get past. When I got the first scrape three weeks ago I said ‘OK, I’m in the wrong here’ and moved to the other side of the road.
“I’m parked under a bridge, there’s no footpath, nothing there. Whoever did it had to walk off the footpath and go across the road to do it.
“The police say it’s criminal damage, but there’s not much chance of them catching whoever did it I wouldn’t think.”
He added: “I’m only parking the car to go to work, and the policeman said I’m not breaking any laws by parking it there. I’m just a worker trying to get to my work. I don’t want to have to worry about my car every time I park it.
“People clearly aren’t happy with where cars are parking, but they’re taking things into their own hands and scraping cars to make them move on. If they’re not happy about where people are parking they should be going to the police.”
Police say they are aware of ongoing parking issues at Kenlis Street and Bannview Road.
They have advised motorists to refrain from illegal parking and urged anyone with concerns that a vehicle is obstructively parked to report the matter to police by calling 101.
Officers investigating the criminal damage at Bannview Road on May 23 have appealed to anyone who can assist with their enquiries to contact Banbridge Station on 101 quoting reference number 884 of 23/05/17.
Information can also be passed on anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.