AN elderly couple who were issued with a parking ticket for leaving their car in a loading bay outside the old Blackburn Market, which closed more than a year ago, said the situation ‘was a joke’.

Robert Fulton, 80, and his wife Jean, who is in her 70s, parked their yellow Vauxhall in the space, in Brown Street, last Friday, so they could easily acc-ess shops in The Mall.

The couple, who live in Pole Lane, Darwen, have both had knee replacement surgery and had displayed their blue badge.

But Blackburn with Darwen Council officials said the loading bay was still used by some businesses in the area, incl- uding the Blackburn Transport Office, Gala Bingo, and the Job Centre.

Mr Fulton, who used to run a home brewing stall on the old market, said he couldn’t believe he had received the ticket.

He said: “It was a joke and an expensive one at that.

“My wife has problems walk-ing, and I have a false knee, so it is essential we park close to the shops.

“The market has been shut down for a long time, so we have no idea who is loading outside. It is an empty building.”

Coun Dave Harling, executive member for regeneration at Blackburn with Darwen Coun-cil, said: “The ticket was corr-ectly issued in this case as blue badge holders are not permitted to park in loading bays. “This includes those at the former market, which are still enf-orceable due to some businesses still using the area.

“The couple can appeal to the council as we have a policy to cancel the first parking fine issued to a blue badge holder,” he added.