A CRACKDOWN on illegal parking in Blackburn town centre has been criticised by business owners.

Police are taking a new approach in Darwen Street after attempts to educate drivers about the restrictions of double yellow lines had failed.

Ten people received parking tickets during the initiative’s between 6pm and 1pm on Friday. But business owners said they were losing customers already.

Hamid Kaboodrangi, owner of Number 39 takeaway, said customers needed to be encouraged to come into the town centre and not ‘frightened away’.

He said: “We lost customers during the operation. I am going to complain to the council because this kind of thing is going to close down businesses.

“Customers were complaining and it is just not fair.”

Happy Haddock manager Mazhar Hussain said: “All of our customers just passed on when they saw the police.”

Maz Hussain, manager at Pyramid takeaway, said three customers got £70 fines, which would be halved if paid within 14 days.

He said: “Parking is a big issue. As soon as our customers stopped, they were given a ticket. We need more parking or to be able to stay just for five minutes.”

Coun Shahabuddin Solkar, for Shear Brow said he agreed a solution would be to have a single yellow line, whoch would allow shop customers to collect their orders in the evenings He said: “The council should help businesses. If I was going to a takeaway and knew I could not park outside, I would not go.

“The council is trying to encourage people to come into town, but at the same time, people should respect the rules.”

Town centre sergeant Nick Everett said ‘an educational stance by speaking to vehicle owners’ had not worked, promoting the move to ‘enforcement’. which would ‘continue for as long as necessary to address the issue’.

Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration, said drivers should use car parks instead of leaving their vehicles on the double yellows – adding that the council’s car parks were free after 3pm.