A MAN who played Santa to help collect more than £3,500 for charity got a parking ticket while he was delivering the cash to the bank.

Blackburn Round Table member Andrew Bridge spent three nights dressed as Father Christmas while gathering money in a sleigh over the festive period.

He was forced to park outside Barclays in Haslingden while he handed over four huge bags of loose change, weighing more than 100kg, because the nearest car park was 200 yards away.

But after five minutes in the bank he returend to his silver Renault Scenic to find a £30 parking ticket on the window because he had parked on a single yellow line, which restricts daytime parking.

He said he explaiend to the Parkwise warden that the cash was for charity but added: "She was like a machine and kept saying she didn't make the rules."

Mr Bridge, 33, from Balmoral Road, Accrington, is now appealing against the ticket.

He said: "It took me four trips, carrying six bags of money, to get all the cash into the bank.

"I knew that I shouldn't have parked where I did but I had deliberately waited until after the lunch time rush so that I could be straight in and out.

"The money was the equivalent of carrying a 16-stone man to the bank.

"The bags were far too heavy to carry from the car park and I didn't want to leave them unattended in my car. It only took me about five minutes to unload all the money.

"I rushed outside but the warden had already entered my details.

"I admit that I was in the wrong, but the money was for good causes and I thought they might be lenient because the money was for charity."

Mr Bridge was among 20 Round Table members who collected the loose change from Blackburn town centre shoppers.

But when he arrived at the Deardengate bank he realised that the 200 yard walk from a public car park was too far.

He added: "The whole fundraising campaign had been really carefully planned and this threw a real spanner in the works.

"I will appeal the ticket and hope that Rossendale Council are still feeling charitable after Christmas.

"All the money is destined for good causes in East Lancashire. This has put a real tarnish on our achievements."

A spokesperson for Barclays Bank said that customers should ring ahead if they had heavy deposits so that staff could help them into the building.

She added: "The amount of coinage being deposited was unprecedented at this branch, as obviously Father Christmas only comes once a year."

A Rossendale Council spokesperson said: "We are sympathetic to Mr Bridge's circumstances and have already encouraged him to appeal against the ticket through the official Parkwise procedure.

"Our parking attendants have no way of knowing why a driver has breached a traffic regulation and have done the right thing in issuing this ticket."

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