TRAFFIC wardens in Worcester have been branded 'little dictators' after they gave a parking ticket to engineers unblocking a drain.

Engineers from 1st Drainage parked in a taxi rank in The Cross in Worcester on Saturday as they carried out 'emergency work' to unblock drains in the cellar of a fast food restaurant.

Engineers explained to civil enforcement officers that they had to park as near to the restaurant as possible for health and safety reasons.

The work involved the use of a high pressure hose and staff from 1st Drainage were concerned that if their kit trailed on the ground for any distance it could prove a trip hazard for pedestrians in Worcester city centre.

However, despite their protestations, the engineers were slapped with a parking ticket by a civil enforcement officer at 9.18am.

Worcester City Council says it has received a formal complaint and the matter will be 'fully investigated'.

Manager and owner of 1st Drainage Mark Price said he had already paid the £35 fine because he did not want the price of the ticket to double to £70 which happens if the penalty charge notice is not paid within 14 days.

Mr Price has also made a formal complaint to Worcester City Council.

He believes the attitudes of traffic wardens are having an impact on other tradesmen in the city.

Mr Price tried to speak to the parking attendant on his colleague's mobile telephone at the time but said they refused to speak to him.

He said: "They wouldn't listen. They would not speak to me on the phone. They just said 'we have issued this ticket and you can sort it out later'.

"It's just a lack of common sense. They're like little dictators. Traffic wardens have a bad reputation as it is.

"I think they need to go on a people skills course.

"If you're angry in your job you're angry in your life.

"You're going to have problems if you don't let tradesmen park and do their job."

Drainage engineer Steve Burston who was present when the ticket was issued said: "We were called to do an emergency drain unblock. We were parked in the taxi bays right outside the front door.

"Health and safety tells me I need to make as short a distance as possible for the hose.

"The block was in the cellar of the restaurant and I also needed to keep in contact with my colleague at all times during the procedure.

"The traffic wardens came over and told us to move out of the taxi rank because they had numerous complaints from taxi drivers but the taxi drivers I spoke to were fine with us being there.

"The wardens wanted me to move the van two to three car lengths forward and park on the chevrons by the traffic lights but that's illegal.

"I refused to move. I didn't want to be trailing the hose down a pedestrian footpath. It was a health and safety issue.

"The traffic warden said 'if you don't move it I'm going to put a ticket on the van'. Their attitude was very unreasonable.

"I understand they have a job to do. I was trying to carry out my job as well. They put a ticket on the van and that was that."

A spokesman for Worcester City Council said: "A formal complaint has been lodged which means we cannot comment further. The matter will be fully investigated."