A DUNFERMLINE parish priest has been abused by drivers when he challenged them about parking at his church.

Parishioners at St Margaret’s RC Church have also suffered shocking verbal abuse from car owners.

Lazy shoppers and town centre workers have been using the East Port church to park – meaning one bride was unable get out of her bridal car and walk to the church door as so many cars were parked badly.

On other occasions, mourners for funerals taking place have been unable to find spaces.

Now, a £6,000 barrier with dedicated security camera has been installed which will control parking when church services are not taking place.

To help pay for the control, parishioners wanting to use the car park outside of service times have been invited to apply – and pay – for a pass.

Parish priest Father Chris Heenan said the issue was something which needed to be addressed. 

“The problem was that people were coming to use the church and hall facilities and couldn’t get parked because people were using the the car park for free parking,” he told the Press.

“It was just people going to work and going shopping. The car park is there for the congregation to use so the barrier is just to make sure that this happens.

"It is open for church services and the various hall users.”

Although the barrier is in operation for most of the week, the car park will still be open to worshippers at the time of church services.

It will open an hour before the start of any mass or service and close an hour afterwards.

Fr Heenan said the barrier system had been proving a success.

“It is going well so far,” he said. “We have had a few people who have been locked behind it but there’s a number they can phone and someone then lets them out!”