CAMPAIGNERS came up with a novel approach to their battle against 24-hour car parking charges across the Cotswolds.

In a bid to get as many Cirencester residents as possible to sign a petition against council car parking plans, campaigners in Market Place offered free hugs to anyone who offered their signature.

Lib Dem councillor Joe Harris told the Standard: "It was brilliant, we got a lot more signatures than we would have done ‘With the country in a miserable state because of the riots, this was a way of cheering people up while trying to boost our fight too."

Cotswold District Council has said Sunday and evening parking charges will raise a further £55,000.