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1963: Shocking wardens could be legal
A man who electrified his car to ward off traffic wardens may be able to evade the law.

Peter Hicks, 40, a farmer from Sussex, is waiting to find out whether he will be prosecuted for rigging up an electric device on his Land Rover.

Yesterday a police officer heard a strange ticking noise emanating from the vehicle parked in Marylebone and received a nasty shock when he touched it.

A sergeant also jumped when he came to see what shocked the constable and sparks flew when an inspector turned up to give his opinion on the situation.

Until somebody tells me what law I'm breaking I shall keep up my private war.
Peter Hicks, farmer
Mr Hicks, who sells his produce in London's Covent Garden market, had attached a mechanism normally used to electrify fences to his car as part of a private war against traffic wardens.

It gives out a shock of about 2,000 volts but Mr Hicks insisted the amperage is low, rendering the device "harmless, apart from a bit of a flash and a nasty jog".

Police disarmed the car and had a long chat with Mr Hicks but he has yet to find out what action they will take against him, if any.

"Until somebody tells me what law I'm breaking I shall keep up my private war. I have plenty more of these lovely machines," he told the press later.

Mr Hicks already pays 30 a week in fines for parking his 50 lorries and his Land Rover was getting tickets almost every day.

Four weeks ago he electrified his car initially as an anti-theft device.

He has not had a parking ticket since he made sure all his lorries were electrified by being parked bumper to bumper behind his Land Rover.

"I've watched quite a few wardens cop it, trying to put a ticket on my truck. They gave up in disgust - and shock!" he said.

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Peter Hicks talking to BBC's Leonard Parkin holding electrical device
Peter Hicks shows off his traffic warden deterrent - a cattle fencer

Farmer explains his `shocking' actions

In Context
Peter Hicks had to wait nine months before police returned his electric device and told him they would not be prosecuting.

They had wanted to charge him with assault but could not make the charge stick.

Mr Hicks said he would not be re-installing the device as it had already served its purpose by deterring local traffic wardens from approaching his car.

Parking controls were introduced to London in 1958.

The first parking meters were first installed outside the American Embassy.

Two years later traffic wardens made their first appearance on the streets of the capital and have been vilified by motorists ever since.

In June 2000 31 police forces issued body armour to traffic wardens after a spate of attacks from angry drivers.

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