Tesco, a persistent offender?

22 Mar

Today I am focusing on Tesco, who park on the pavement (and I believe break the law) close to where I live virtually every week when doing their home deliveries. What bugs me is the way that nothing changes despite numerous conversations with their drivers over the past year; each week they come back to almost exactly the same spot. This time they inconvenienced a total or three pedestrians, including one with a small child in a buggy. Drivers normally explain that they park on the pavement to avoid inconveniencing motorists and that they receive no guidance on not parking on the pavement from their company blar blar… (in other words the same old stuff).

What is very interesting about this is that Tesco (and just about everyone else who parks on the pavement) appears to be breaking section 72 of the delightfully old Highways Act 1835 which is still in force and is probably one of the most powerful laws available to us which states that it is an offense: “If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway“. The great thing about that law is that there is very little wriggle room – there in nothing about such driving needing to be ‘unreasonable’, ‘unnecessary’ which makes the obstruction law so useless. All one needs is suitable evidence which can be provided by virtually by a mobile phone with video recording capability. Any recording needs to show the situation, the pavement, the vehicle registration number and the driver’s face. The offense can lead to a fine of ‘Level 2 on the standard scale‘ which is currently a maximum of £500 which might make them pay some attention. It would of course be necessary to convince a court that it was worth their time to bring it to court. This is certainly something to explore in much more detail going forward.

Here are a bunch of Tesco photos; the first is from last week’s delivery and the last two from today’s delivery showing that not much has changed.

Tesco delivering on 15 March 2012 – no space for pedestrians

Back on the pavement on 22 March 2012. Pedestrians approaching with buggy.

Another view of the 22 March delivery

As always, I will email Tesco and ask for their thoughts and let you know what happens!


Tesco have come back very efficiently and very promptly and assured me that it is company policy that Tesco home delivery vans should always obey all traffic laws and as such should never drive on the pavement!

As such, I am sure they would be interested to hear from anyone else around the country who has problems with Tesco vans up on pavements. If you have a problem then do please email customer.service@tesco.co.uk with details of the incident and provide the following details:

  • Time and date
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Street name and town
  • Your contact details

Do please also drop a comment with the the details of the incident (but not your personal information) onto the comments section of this post and we will see if anything changes as a result.

6 Responses to “Tesco, a persistent offender?”

  1. Andy in Germany March 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    “they receive no guidance on not parking on the pavement from their company”

    I expect that drivers also receive no guidance from the company on how to drive through red lights or company policy as to driving under the influence of alcohol, for the very good reason it’s illegal: drivers only need company guidance for actions they are legally permitted to take.

    • Peter Miller March 23, 2012 at 12:09 am #

      I would hope that companies tell all their staff that they are expected to obey all national laws and that there will be internal disciplinary consequences if they do not do so (in addition to any possible civil or criminal prosecution).

      I would also hope that companies would also draw attention to specific ‘hot issues’ where in their experience their staff have in the past frequently digressed (for example speeding, parking offenses, using mobile phone while driving etc etc) and to spell out effective internal disciplinary consequences for these actions and then monitor compliance with spot checks or similar. This is absolutely standard practice in business operation, particularly when performing tasks that are potentially hazardous. Motoring seems to be a notable exception.

  2. snibgo March 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Sadly, I’m afraid some case law established that parking on a pavement doesn’t constitute driving along it, within the meaning of the 1835 Act.

    Pave-parking (by obstruction) is further complicated by being decrimilised in many areas, which makes it difficult to know whether the police have jurisdiction, and London has its own rules.

    My personal attempts to persuade culprits that “pavements are for people” have mostly failed. I wish someone at the top would take the time to stamp out this anti-social behaviour.

    • Peter Miller March 24, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      But you are missing my point, you are completely correct that the obstruction legislation is fatally flawed outside London, however the ‘driving on pavements’ legislation appears to me to be robust as long as one has the evidence and can persuade anyone to act on it. We need to explore this one.

    • Graham Martin-Royle March 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

      Even where parking has been decriminalised, in the majority of cases it is still the police who are tasked with dealing with obstruction to the pavement (which means it’s still a criminal offence).
      Hastings is one council that has taken over parking but it quite clearly states on it’s site that pavement parking is a job for the police.
      What action does the Council take against pavement parking?

      If there are waiting restrictions (yellow lines) on the highway adjacent to the pavement then a Penalty Charge Notice would be issued since a vehicle parked in this manner is in contravention of the traffic order. Waiting restrictions cover the highway from centre of the highway to the back of the footpath.

      If there are no waiting restrictions on the highway adjacent to the pavement, and there are no restrictions to verge or footway parking indicated by signs, the Council have no powers to take action and this should be taken up with the Police since it constitutes obstruction.

      • Peter Miller March 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

        From my experience the obstruction legislation is for all practical purposes useless and we should forget about it, and all the decriminalised parking stuff as well. What is much more interesting as I said in the post is the ‘driving on the pavement’ legislation for which video evidence should be sufficient for a court – its just that video phoned didn’t exist in 1835, or indeed as recently as 5 years ago. I am now going to contact the environmental lawyers and see if they agree.

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