A disabled driver claims he has been the victim of an overzealous parking attendant after being slapped with a fine during a five-minute stop to collect garden furniture.

Paul Eldridge, 79, of Tallentire, bought some furniture for his garden from Argos in Workington last week but had to return the following day to collect something that had been out of stock.

Mr Eldridge said he was told to park in the brick-paved area below the steps outside the catalogue store, which he was advised was its loading and unloading area.

But when he arrived he found the area full of other cars.

Unable to walk far, Mr Eldridge sought somewhere as close as possible to the loading area to leave his vehicle.

He could have parked with a blue badge on display on the southern side of Central Way below the underpass that leads to Opera Bingo but not on the yellow lines closer to Argos, as there is a full loading restriction on the northern side of the road, and on the southern side up to the delivery yard.

However, Mr Eldridge judged that his Jaguar estate would not cause an obstruction if he temporarily left it on the slabbed paved area next to where he had been advised to park.

Mr Eldridge said he stopped his car at 11.26am and left it with the hazard lights flashing and his six dogs inside.

He added: "I thought, 'I'm only going to be here two or three minutes. I'll park up and leave my flashing lights going.'"

He said that his garden furniture was brought to him in Argos before he paid, his receipt showed he paid at 11.30am and he estimates that, with help, it took him about a minute to get back to his car.

But when he returned, he found a penalty charge notice on his windscreen and a Cumbria County Council enforcement officer taking photographs of the vehicle.

The notice informed Mr Eldridge he was being fined £70 - or a lesser £35 charge if paid within 14 days - for being "parked or loading/unloading in a restricted street where waiting and loading/unloading restrictions are in force".

It stated that the vehicle had been "observed from 11.29am to 11.29am", the same time that the ticket was issued.

But Mr Eldridge believes the enforcement officer was overzealous to issue the ticket so quickly and that she should have waited long enough to take into account his circumstances before handing out the fine.

He said: "She's just slapped it on the windscreen without waiting for me to come back.

"She had no courtesy to stand around for a few minutes to see what was going to occur.

"I couldn't get on the loading and unloading area for Argos. I only wanted to use it to shop in Argos. I think other people were leaving their cars there.

"If a lorry had turned up, what were they going to do about getting unloaded?

"They want to do something about stopping ordinary motorists blocking the Argos area.

"If I could have parked in the Argos but I would have done.

"I thought I'd be out of the way if I parked on the pavement.

"To the observer it was obvious I was there to do something.

"It boils down to the overzealousness of the parking attendant not being understanding."

After receiving the ticket, Mr Eldridge visited the Cumbria Highways office at Lillyhall, where he submitted a written appeal on the advice of staff.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: "We are looking into the incident. We advised Mr Eldridge to put his appeal in writing. We will consider that and will respond directly to him."