Miniature wardens keep cars in check

4th May 2001 at 01:00
Primary pupils are throwing the book at rogue motorists. Brian Morgan reports.

THESE days it is not just police officers who are getting younger. At a Cardiff primary, pupils as young as eight are acting as traffic wardens, reporting people who park illegally outside their school.

South Wales Police have given two young volunteers regulation-issue hats and fluorescent yellow jackets. Pupils Shelley Jones and Claudia Purchase patrol the school boundaries every day, noting registration numbers of offending cars.

Their headteacher, Carol Richards, says the school - Radnor Road junior in Canton - has been a magnet for parking offenders, although the site is marked with double yellow lines and zig-zag markings.

The school has three exits on its site which it shares with a Welsh-medium primary. There are only intermittent visits by traffic wardens.

She said: "The pupils thought of this initiative themselves. The traffic warden who patrols this area arranged for themto have uniforms and official police-issue notebooks."

The girls are allowed to patrol the pavement only when the traffic warden is present. Mrs Richards said that once they were abused by a motorist.

When the warden is not on patrol the children note car registration numbers from the playground. Numbers are passed to the police and letters sent to motorists asking them not to park near the school in future.

The scheme seems to be working. Not one parent had parked illegally and the girls clearly enjoy the task.

Inspector Lyn Dunstan from Canton said that he would now be trying to extend the project to include all the schools which are parking troublespots in his division.

Shelley, 10, said: "I get to miss some school, so that's fun, and it helps to keep the other children safe, because they won't get run over by going in front of or behind a car when they cross the road."

And Claudia, eight, agreed: "It's good to help keep the children safe."

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