Battle of the blue badges...

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Blue badge

A blue badge battle between two drivers over the last disabled parking space at a supermarket resulted in a retired policeman being taken to the cells – and the wife of the other driver to hospital.

A court heard how the ex-officer has made an official complaint about the conduct of the constable who arrested him to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Blackpool Magistrate heard how a 67-year-old retired man, who walks with a stick, was reversing into the space in his black Diahatsu four-by-four, at Lidl in Preston Road, Lytham.

But ex-fraud squad officer Christopher Johnston, 74, tried to get into the prime spot ahead of him in his Ford Escort.

The court heard the drivers spent 10 minutes trying to claim the spot, inching forward, before the retired man’s wife stood in the space to claim it for her husband.

But as each driver tried to inch his way to parking victory she became trapped – pinned between the vehicles, injuring her leg and falling.

She told the hearing:”I saw Mr Johnston’s car coming closer and closer inching his way in. I thought he won’t go any further but he did.

“I was trapped between the cars. I screamed and shouted and banged on the man’s car. But it hit my leg and I fell.”

“I was being tended to by staff from Lidl but that man came over and started hurling abuse at me.”

Police and an ambulance were called and supermarket staff tried to intervene as the two drivers launched foul-mouthed tirades against each other, the court heard.

Officers feared Johnston wanted to leave the scene and removed his car keys.

But he tried to grab them back and the pensioner was arrested and taken to Blackpool Police Station.

The injured woman’s husband told magistrates:”That man knocked my wife down and then tried to say it was me. I was angry and all he did was sit in his car and ring police.”

PC James Whinfield was called to the spat and he told the court: “Mr Johnston told me he was an ex- policeman and was suffering with cancer but he was aggressive. I asked him to calm down.”

Widower Johnston of King Edward Avenue,St Annes, denied driving without due care and attention in May this year.

He told the court he had made an official complaint to the IPCC about PC Whinfield.

Giving evidence he said:”I had every right to that space. It was me who was left petrified. I firmly believe he knocked his own wife down.

“ I know what happened once a policeman, always a policeman.

“But what happened to me was wrong. My hands were cuffed behind my back and I was frog-marched to the police van. I was thrown into the back into the well between two wooden seats.

“I was in agony. When I got to the station I was in a cell for three hours before I was released. There was blood on me from where the handcuffs were put on. It was brutal and uncompromising and I was screaming because I am suffering from cancer and was in pain.”

Johnston was found guilty of the driving offence. He was fined £470 and was ordered to pay £520 criminal courts charge,£47 victims’ surcharge and £300 prosecution costs.