Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 12:49 GMT

Red-faced parking attendants in Torbay have apologised after being spotted driving around in an untaxed van.
The van was seen on Tuesday by a member of the public who complained to NCP, the company which runs the Devon resort's parking.

The NCP said the mistake was down to a "back office" error and has apologised.

NCP has been at the centre of a row after the number of parking fines rose six-fold, from 4,581 in 2004 to 28,500 last year after taking over in Torbay.

All human life is fallible

James Pritchard, NCP
James Pritchard, of NCP, said: "We on this occasion have shown ourselves to be fallible.

"All human life is fallible at one level or another and we apologise for that.

"But what I would say is that it does not detract from the fact that in Torbay we still continue to provide an excellent service enforcing the rules on the street."

Torbay traffic wardens have suffered a sustained period of criticism since NCP took over the contract.

One local barred wardens from his pubs and another sold anti-warden T-shirts.

NCP has blamed verbal and physical abuse on a high turnover of parking wardens in the town.

Now the council is attempting to smooth the waters with a number of recommendations including the suggestion that wardens go on anger management courses and wear "tailored shorts" in the summer.