Mystery signwriter ‘Line Ranger’ making his mark

SUCCESS ... these signs were painted by the council after the Line Ranger struck in Ashley Road, South Shields.
SUCCESS ... these signs were painted by the council after the Line Ranger struck in Ashley Road, South Shields.

A MYSTERY ‘Line Ranger’ has been credited with ending parking pain for people living near South Tyneside District Hospital.

Earlier this week, the Gazette revealed that a signwriter had painted the words ‘permit holders only’ on the road surface in Beach Road, South Shields.

It was an act apparently borne of frustration by a fed-up resident or residents, concerned at the public parking outside their homes.

Now, it has emerged that the signwriter has struck before.

Back in November 2011, similar markings appeared in Ashley Road and Talbot Road, a short distance from the district hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields.

At the time, people in those two streets had become increasingly frustrated at illegal parking outside their homes – particularly during hospital visiting hours.

The borough council soon removed the amateur markings.

But soon afterwards, the local authority returned to replace them with official warning signs on the road surface.

And they have had a remarkable impact in reducing parking problems in the area. Now, South Shields housing landlord Colin Campbell has praised the mystery ‘Line Ranger’ for his actions.

He said: “The road painting certainly worked in Talbot and Ashley roads.

“Prior to the road signs, more than 500 motorists were fined for parking in just six months. Whoever did this should be congratulated.”

Another fan of the mystery signwriter is Pat Newman, one of the victims of illegal parking in Beach Road, who said: “Whoever did this in the streets close to the hospital should be congratulated.

“The signs that were painted there were in yellow or pink. They looked pretty amateurish, and they were swiftly cleaned up by the council.

“But what it did achieve was to raise the issue and the council then put their own signs on the street.

“It has worked really well. The same should now happen in Beach Road.”

One resident in Talbot Road, who did not want to be named, said: “The road surface signs have been brilliant. There were signs on the lamp-posts, but nobody paid attention to them.

“I even had two cars parked at all times just to ensure I could be sure of at least one parking space. It was that bad. Now there’s no problem anymore.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “The council painted text at this location as a trial to see if it would reduce unsafe and illegal parking, rather than potentially increase the number of pavement- mounted signs. It coincided with additional awareness-raising at the hospital for its staff and visitors.

“There are a number of factors which have improved the parking problems in the Ashley Road area; however, the council are still issuing tickets at this location and have no current plans to extend the road marking scheme further.

“We would always advise people to speak with the council with parking problems, and before carrying out any work themselves on the highways.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul