The owners of Whitehall Garden Centre in Lacock have issued an apology after photos emerged of dangerous parking near the store this weekend.

Locals had blasted drivers who had blocked bends and parked on verges on Corsham Road on Sunday.

People were forced to walk on the road where the pavement was blocked at some points.

On social media, people branded the situation an "absolute joke". 

Other images on social media also show large queues for Whitehall Garden Centre, who have now apologised for "distress" caused.

Whitehall Garden Centres is currently a fourth generation family business, started by Pauline Self back in 1970.

A statement released by the family reads: "Firstly we would like to apologise for the distress caused to the residents and the surrounding communities that were effected by the cars parked dangerously along Corsham Road over the weekend. We experienced an unexpectedly large number of customers arriving at the Garden Centre over the weekend. At 10:30am on Sunday we were already at our max capacity, with both carparks full and a two hour queue outside the centre.

"As a result we made the decision to shut the gates to discourage more cars entering the carpark. But regrettably as a result a number of these people took it upon themselves to park a mile from the garden centre along Corsham Road towards Corsham."

Staff had also put out more than 200 traffic cones on Saturday night up to the bridge before Stonegate and along Notton Road to discourage any parking along the road.

The centre has a customer limit of 300 and have a number of covid-related measures in place, including sanitising stations and screens in-front of our tills.

The family's statement continued: "We were aware that the police received multiple complaints about the parked cars as we received a site visit. Our general manager met with the police and showed them the covid procedures we had in place within the centre, in which the police were happy with as we were following all the requires guidelines.

"We are deeply sorry to the local community for the disturbance caused over the weekend.

"We are a small family and an independent business and are only trying to do our best to support our community and staff and survive as a business through the current pandemic."

A spokesman from Wiltshire Police added: "Our officers attended Whitehall Garden Centre over the weekend following concerns raised by members of the public about overcrowding and Covid compliance. The store manager was contacted to ensure measures are in place to limit the numbers of customers and ensure that social distancing restrictions are being adhered to."