John humbled by ‘Britain’s kindest traffic warden’ praise

John Lacey, who has been called Britain's nicest traffic warden, received his 10 year service award

John Lacey, who has been called Britain's nicest traffic warden, received his 10 year service award earlier this month. - Credit: Archant

Generally speaking, you might not expect to hear the words ‘nice’ and ‘traffic warden’ used in the same sentence - but John Lacey has bucked the trend.

John, 65, a familiar face seen patrolling district council car parks in Sidmouth and East Devon, has been dubbed ‘Britain’s kindest traffic warden’.

John has been praised for putting compassion before duty when it comes to issuing parking tickets.

The great-grandfather, who has been an East Devon District Council (EDDC) civil enforcement officer for 12 years, has been spotted picking up rubbish and helping motorists who have broken down - and he often holds back from issuing fines.

‘Gentleman’ John, who ‘loves’ working with the public, also cleans road signs and, if it looks likely to rain, calls permit holders to tell them they have left their car windows open.

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He waits for motorists to return to expiring tickets and goes out of his way to help drivers avoid fines.

John, from Exeter, said: “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”

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His exploits have made national headlines after John recently recieved a long service award from EDDC. He said he felt ‘humbled’ by the whole experience.

John added: “You get a few people swearing, but, in my view, if you can explain why they are getting the penalty charge notice, it’s absolutely fine.”

John said his actions ‘came naturally’ and that his aim was to help people rather than prosecute. He said he treats the public the same way as he hopes to be treated.

EDDC says John is a ‘valued ambassador’.

Andrew Ennis, service lead for environmental health and car parks, at EDDC, said: “John really does embody the true meaning of the word civil while carrying out his duties. John has been a real credit to the council and by all accounts he is also a thoroughly nice chap.”

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