A FAKE park attendant has reportedly cheated of money on visitors to Bristol Zoo for 20 years.

According to reports, a scammer got away with cheating for two decades before taking his fortune and disappearing overseas.

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A popular myth has it that a fake park ranger collected money from visitors to Bristol ZooPhoto credit: SWNS: South West News Service

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Details discovered by a research group seem to explain where the myth came fromPhoto credit: SWNS: South West News Service

At the time, Bristol Zoo believed the man worked for the local council while the local authority believed he worked for the zoo.

Bristol Zoo has kept saying this is not true, but a research group has now tried to explain where the urban myth came from.

The Downs for People campaign group has always objected to the zoo and used the nearby Downs as additional parking.

The group has said that some people would head out to the Downs and collect voluntary donations from visitors, but no one knows where the money is going.

During their research, they also found the name of a man, Mr. SW Barrett, who had been overseeing the parking since 1978.

POPULAR MYTH

You are now trying to track down the man or his relatives to find out more about his time there and the popular myth.

Downs for People have tried to stop the use of the Downs opposite the entrance to Bristol Zoo as overflow parking.

The land has been leased to the zoo by the Downs Committee for decades for temporary use on busy days, Bristol Live reports.

Bristol Zoo has repeatedly said that the park rangers' fake story is not true

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Bristol Zoo has repeatedly said that the park rangers’ fake story is not truePhoto credit: SWNS: South West News Service

The campaign group is preparing to take the Downs Committee and Bristol City Council to court arguing that the Downs should not be used for parking but should be kept for people to use for recreation.

While researching the court case, Downs for People said they found evidence that some people collected parking from motorists who parked on the Downs to visit the zoo.

However, the archives did not seem to clarify how the money was used or to whom it was given.

The group’s spokeswoman, Susan Carter, told Bristol Live: “There is truth behind the myth of Bristol’s parking attendant at the Phantom Zoo.

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“For nearly thirty years, from 1958 to the mid-1980s, and probably 30 years earlier, people were able to make a living as park rangers and collect ‘voluntary’ donations from drivers who park on uneven ground outside the zoo.

“Anyone is unlikely to have made a fortune, and from 1958 onwards, participants were authorized by either the Downs Committee or, from 1983, the zoo (likely – then confusion may have arisen).

“It’s not clear when the voluntary donation system ended: participants didn’t wear uniforms until 1988 when a system of parking stickers was introduced.”