A DUBLIN restaurateur has called in a team of 'angels' in his battle against over-zealous parking wardens.
Southside restaurant owner Padraic Hanley has appointed the parking angels to ensure motorists are not fined for returning a few minutes late to their cars.
Already, as many as 40 drivers have been saved from getting caught.
Mr Hanley said that last Friday alone, some 30 people were helped out.
He is currently employing two angels at €10 an hour.
"We helped 30 people on Friday. These are ones who would have been back to their car within five or 10 minutes," Mr Hanley told the Herald.
The businessman, who owns the Ouzos Bar & Grill eateries in Dalkey and Blackrock, was at the centre of controversy after claiming a parking warden attempted to elicit a bribe from him.
Dun Laoghaire County Council refused to comment on the allegation, only to say that it was "under investigation".
The latest initiative is an attempt to combat wardens "who appear to be lying in wait for parking tickets to expire", according to a statement.
It will involve the 'angels' keeping an eye on the streets around Blackrock and Dalkey villages.
If a motorist gets delayed and their parking ticket runs out, the angels will put 50c in the meter, giving them a further 15 minutes, plus the 15 minutes grace you are entitled to, a statement said.
"Instead of welcoming people into small towns where the local authority collect vast sums of commercial rates from the shops and businesses, Dun Laoghaire council's overzealous parking enforcement has driven people out of these towns and into big shopping centres," Mr Hanley said.
"We know that paid street parking is essential to facilitate the smooth running of towns and villages like Blackrock and Dalkey.
"It is believed 99pc of people are honest and would be more than willing to pay the balance if for any reason they overstayed their pre-paid parking ticket," he added.
APCOA is contracted by the council to enforce on-street parking regulations, including issuing fines for illegally parked vehicles.
A council spokesman said: "Any incidence of unfair or aggressive behaviour by parking wardens is considered unacceptable by the local authority and will be followed up with the agent, who will investigate and take the appropriate action."