A nurse at Royal Preston Hospital has been fined by police after parking on a residential street in Fulwood.
Oncology nurse and mum-of-two Karen Jones, who lives in Goosnargh, said she returned from a nine-hour shift at the hospital's Cancer Centre to find a fixed penalty notice attached to her car windshield.
Mrs Jones had parked her Vauxhall Zafira in Moorfield Close, a Fulwood cul-de-sac half-a-mile from the hospital, at around 9am yesterday (December 3) after taking her youngest child to nursery.
But when Mrs Jones returned to her car, she found that she had been fined £30 for obstructing the road.
The fine was issued on the same day that Lancashire Police announced that it intended to crack down on those who "cause an obstruction or park dangerously" in the area.
But police had advised hospital staff that the crackdown in on-street parking around Fulwood, code-named Operation Tower, would come into force on Monday, December 9.
Mrs Jones' husband, Daniel, said his wife had been parking in the same spot for over a year without any complaints from the streets' residents.
He said he was 'furious' when his wife returned home exhausted from her shift with the penalty notice in her hand.
According to the notice, Mrs Jones was fined for "Obstruction / Waiting and Parking Offences / Causing unnecessary obstruction of a highway".
But the notice does not specify which of the listed offences she allegedly committed.
"We just couldn't believe it", said Daniel, who works on the emergency surgery ward at Royal Preston Hospital.
"Karen's been parking in the same spot for over a year now, without incident, and she always takes care to park on the non-residential side of the cul-de-sac.
"She's always considerate and never blocks anyone's driveway. There is plenty of room in the cul-de-sac to manoeuvre, so we can't see why they have targeted her.
"We only live up the road in Goosnargh but she has to take the car to drop off our youngest child at nursery in the mornings.
"It's bad enough that she has to walk 10 minutes to work and back in the dark, without having to worry about being fined by the police.
"I cycle to work at the hospital, but if we lived further away and I was forced to take the car, I would seriously have to consider working at another hospital."
Mr Jones said all hospital staff had been warned of the impending crackdown in a newsletter circulated by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on Monday (December 2).
The newsletter featured a message from Lancashire Police "for the attention of those working and visiting Royal Preston Hospital".
The notice read: "It has been brought to our attention that over the last few months, the number of vehicles causing an obstruction, parking dangerously or illegally around the residential areas of the hospital is at an all-time high.
"This is causing much distress to the local residents who are in some cases finding their driveways obstructed or vehicles damaged.
"Whilst we appreciate the majority of people park sensibly, there are a small minority that don’t.
"As a result from Monday, December 9, hi-visibility officers will patrol the local areas to look for vehicles causing an obstruction or parking dangerously.
"This includes blocking a whole pavement so there is no access for prams or wheelchair access, blocking private driveways and parking dangerously where there is no visibility at junctions.
"Any vehicles found to be causing an obstruction will be dealt with accordingly and issued with a fixed penalty notice."
The announcement provoked a backlash from some hospital workers and forced Lancashire Police to issue a clarification later that day.
"We understand that our post has created some discussion but we just wanted to clarify the situation", said a spokesman for Lancashire Police.
"The operation will only be looking at those people parking dangerously, in an unsafe manner or causing an obstruction in and around RPH on the residential streets.
"A very large percentage of vehicles are parked legally and we will not be taking any action against these people.
"We want the area to be safe for all residents and road users bearing in mind that we have a nursery, primary school and convalescence home locally with many vulnerable users."
But Mr Jones said he and his wife are frustrated at being targeted by police patrols nearly a week before Operation Tower is due to come into force.
The couple said they are considering seeking legal advice with the intention of appealing the £30 fine.
"It's a slap in the face to hospital staff who are being penalised for trying to get to work to do their job.
"It's also putting nurses and consultants off taking job offers at the hospital because they don't want to deal with the aggravation that comes with finding a place to park.
"It's adding stress to an already stressful job and the hospital trust doesn't seem to be offering any solutions.
"They are just burying their head in the sand and refusing to address the problem."
Planning permission for a 680-space multi storey car park at Royal Preston Hospital was passed by Preston City Council in 2014, but the plans have been shelved for the foreseeable future.