A FRENCH restaurateur has turned roadside guardian by warning unwitting drivers about a notorious hotspot said to be a goldmine for blue meanies.
Philippe Bachelet, 45, claims he is saving around 30 drivers a month from paying out £30 fines by wrongly parking in a “confusing” motorcycle-only bay on Grassmarket.
Mr Bachelet, who owns the Petit Paris eatery, routinely waves away drivers from parking in the “poorly signposted” space – and says his selfless actions have earned him an ear-bashing from a parking attendant.
Mr Bachelet said the two-metre bay outside his restaurant must be among the most lucrative areas for parking fines in the city.
He said: “I get so annoyed when I see people getting done for parking there. It is very difficult to tell it is only for motorcycles and people get out of their cars and pay to park at the machine only to go back to their cars later and face a £30 fine.
“I cannot accept that. If people park badly, I understand them being fined and that’s part of the game. But for people to pay £2 to park properly and then get fined £30?
“It is outrageous that the council is targeting innocent people like that, and making a fortune twice as people buy a ticket before getting fined.”
The restaurant owner, who has worked in the area for 15 years, said road markings at the parking area are obscured at night and the winter. And he said there are no markings on a nearby signpost or ticket machine to warn motorists about the motorcycle-only stretch.
The parking bay is understood to have been created during a £5 million revamp of Grassmarket completed in 2010. Originally, a car-parking space it was converted to motorcycle-only due to visibility problems with a nearby pedestrian crossing.
Mr Bachelet said: “This one must be a very good one for them. Every day I see people getting fined for parking in exactly the same spot.”
He claims parking wardens have also chided him for helping drivers avoid unsuspecting fines.
“A few times they have come up and said: ‘What have you been doing? This is not your business,’” he said.
“I’ve been wondering if there’s a vendetta against me because in the last four days I have got three parking tickets in Grassmarket.”
A council spokeswoman: “There is a statutory process which people can use if they feel that a parking ticket has been issued incorrectly. The council has a dedicated team that deals with such matters and we would encourage the driver in this case to get in touch.”