A row over parking has forced residents in a Dungannon estate to employ private security patrols, it has been claimed.
According to DUP peer Maurice Morrow, householders in a private development close to Dungannon Courthouse on the Killyman Road are using the guards in an effort to curb excessive car parking and prevent motorists from using the spaces outside their homes.
The problems arise on days when the court is sitting, and has sparked fears over public safety.
One local motorist, who did not want to be named, said she was told by a man wearing a high visibility vest that she wasn’t allowed to park her car in the estate.
“As soon as I got out of the car, he came over to me and ordered me to park the car somewhere else. He claimed that the residents of the development had paid for the parking spaces.
“His manner was quite aggressive.
“Unfortunately, the carpark at the courthouse was filled to overflowing and the places along the road were also taken. There was nowhere else for people visiting the court to park.”
Lord Morrow, who raised the issue at the Northern Ireland Assembly, has asked the Department of Justice to liaise with local police to alleviate the situation and ensure the safety of the public.
However, in a written response, Minister Ford said: “I have been advised that the PSNI in Dungannon does not have any particular safety concerns regarding excessive street parking in the Killyman Road area.”
The minister added that he had no plans to extend the car park.
“No complaints or reports of parking issues at Killyman Road or surrounding residential areas on court sitting days have been raised with the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service”, he said.