Traffic has been an abiding bugbear of Londoners since Roman times. As Fetlock's London Chronyk pointed out in 1475:
"The Streetes doe so heave Wyth carts and theyr beastes of Laboyr that this Chronykler wasse layte for his worke agayne and didde gette a Ryght ticking-off fromme the Manyger of his Line; and suche is the heaving of the Beastes that their Dirt and Manyure does mayke manye a Pedestryan heave also."
In recent times, though, much of the motorists' ire has been directed at Traffic Wardens, who issue fines to illegally parked motorists. With these custodians of the yellow line again heavily in the news, we revisit the three most extreme cases of wardens overstepping the mark:
1. Parking services had to be suspended for three weeks in Islington in 1994 after it emerged that wardens were ticketing items of street furniture including bollards, benches and street lamps. While the council approved of the wardens' zeal and creativity, it found it self-defeating to end up paying the fines itself.
2. A 1990 plan to force drivers in the borough of Wandsworth to carry a warden in the front passenger seat of their cars at all times, believed to be the "final solution" to traffic violations, was abandoned after an "extremely successful" pilot because it cost too much.
3. Haringey council's innovative and more cost-effective policy of summarily executing errant motorists was scrapped in 1999 after three years of operation because of the escalating problem of abandoned vehicles and health and safety concerns.