PARKING restrictions in Wanstead may be among the toughest in London, but sharp-eyed motorists have discovered a safe haven – on a bus stop.

Despite a clearly marked bay and queues of passengers, motorists have been parking for up to an hour on the stop near the doctor’s surgery in the High Street without fear of a ticket because Redbridge Council has neglected to put a sign up.

Michael Powis of Grosvenor Road discovered the loophole when he spotted the crew of a private ambulance parked up on the stop and a traffic warden ignoring them.

Mr Powis said: “The crew got out to have their tea break and the traffic warden said ‘I can’t put a ticket on them because it doesn’t have a sign’.

“There was a lady who pulled up outside the doctor’s surgery and rushed in, and she came out with her elderly mother and the traffic warden came along and put a ticket on her. Local residents are suffering but strangers can come and just park there.”

Mr Powis ran into trouble when he decided to get some photos of the problem to take to a council area one committee meeting this evening.

He said: “This chap came out of his van and he was swearing at me and threatening me, and I called the police. I said ‘I don’t mind, hit me if you want but I’ve called the police and if you want to be charged that’s up to you’.

"You've got all these old people struggling to get off the buses because someone has parked there. And we've spent all this money on low level buses and its completely negated."

Council highways manager Steve Grayer said: “Our warden is quite correct that although markings can be there, there also needs to be a sign.”

After the meeting a spokeswoman for the council said: "Redbridge Council successfully bid to Transport for London for additional funds to erect '24 hour no waiting' plates for all bus stops along Wanstead High Street.

These will be erected in the next 2 weeks.