Zealous traffic wardens are preying on churchgoers who park outside Bingley parish church during Sunday morning worship, says its vicar Bev Mason.

And yet she photographed their Bradford Council van itself parked illegally on double yellow lines as the wardens patrolled parking bays on Old Main Street.

The Reverend Mason said: “They are merciless. It’s really hard on my people who are always getting tickets.

“The organist and I were walking across to All Saints at 9.45am last Sunday morning when I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“The warden’s van was parked right on the bend, on double yellow lines.

“I called out to the two men: ‘Is this your van?’ and they were mortified, really embarrassed.”

She whipped out her smartphone and photographed the white Ford Transit Connect at the church gates.

She said: “Traffic wardens ticket people who are parked in the marked bays for over the permitted two-hour stay.

“However my church wardens arrive early before an hour-long service to set up the church, and then stay on to tidy up.

“So they often over-run on the parking by minutes and end up with tickets – which, as good Christians, they always pay.

“For some people, this is the only time of fellowship and they are being penalised. It’s very unfair.”

She said the two-hour restriction was “curtailing the activities of the church”.

The Reverend Mason said those who stayed to help with baptisms after the normal Sunday service were among those to have received tickets.

“What my people don’t do is park on double yellows on the bend,” she said.

“And it’s a grim thing to do when their cars are neatly parked in the bays. Not nice.”

All Saints was hosting a light-hearted “Holy Hilarity” service that morning and the Reverend Mason said she could not resist telling the congregation about the Council warden’s bad parking.

She said: “Although people are often saying; ‘Oh no, I’ve got a ticket,’ that morning people saw the funny side and were rolling around laughing.

“How ironic. I do feel embarrassed for them.”

Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “I was very sorry to learn of the concern that traffic wardens in Bingley are targeting people going to church.

“If that is the case it would be unacceptable.

“I will pursue this matter on behalf of the Church with Bradford Council.”

A Bradford Council spokesman, said: “It is clearly unacceptable for a Council van to be parked on double yellow lines and all Council Wardens have been instructed they must adhere to parking restrictions at all times.

“We need to look into this matter to see what has happened on this occasion and consider what action needs to be taken. With regard to the other point raised about extending the limited waiting time in this particular street, it is likely that any changes could raise objections from local residents living there. We will contact the Reverend Mason directly to discuss both matters in more detail.”