THE head of a top private school has pleaded with “careless and selfish” parents to stop parking illegally when they pick up their children.

Cameron Wyllie, principal of George Heriot’s in Edinburgh, revealed parents had verbally abused local residents – including on one occasion using sexist language – following rows over parking.

He stressed it was a minority who had caused problems, but he feared it could escalate unless they stick to the law.

Mr Wyllie has now sent a letter to all parents at the £11,600-a-year school – said to be the inspiration for JK Rowling’s Hogwarts – urging them to “avoid creating contentious and potentially dangerous situations”.

Examples noted outside the school this week include several cases of parents parking on double yellow lines in the congested and busy city centre street.

And in one case, a parent parked on zig zags to get out and chat to another waiting parent.

Mr Wyllie told parents: “I had to deal with a justifiably very upset member of the public – a neighbour of the school – who had been verbally abused by one of our parents who was illegally parked waiting to pick up their child in the afternoon.

“I was also contacted by one of our own parents who had to put up with some unpleasant sexist abuse beside the Vennel Gate from someone dropping their child off.

“So, please, again may I plead that you do not park illegally on Lauriston Place or in Quartermile, and thus avoid creating contentious and potentially dangerous situations for other parents and all our children.”

In a statement, Mr Wyllie added: “At Heriot’s, we are committed to maintaining good relations with our neighbours in our city centre site, and to ensuring the health and safety of our pupils.

“We are very sorry that a very small minority of our parents, through careless and selfish parking, continue to jeopardise these objectives.

“I have, on the back of two recent complaints, written again to all our parents, asking them to obey the law, and thus avoid inconveniencing and upsetting our neighbours, and threatening the safety of all our pupils.”

One eyewitness to the parking chaos this week said: “One mother actually left her car parked on zig-zag lines and then went off to talk to another parent, leaving her car parked.

“Other parents were parked on corners and traffic had to stop at points to let oncoming buses and cars through.”

Jack Cousens, spokesman for the AA, highlighted parents need to be aware of other road users around them while picking up or dropping off pupils at school.

He said: “This is a really common problem around schools, parents dropping off are keen to get to work and when they’re picking up their children they want to get home or go to an after school sports club.

“But that doesn’t mean they should be parking illegally or on corners and causing problems for other road users.

“It affects visibility of road users as well as pedestrians who might be trying to cross the road.”

The list of former pupils at Heriot’s includes actor Ken Stott, DJ Mark Goodier, rugby players Andy Irvine, Ken Scotland, brothers Iain, Kenny and David Milne, artist Henry Raeburn and Lord Mackay of Clashfern, advocate and former lord chancellor.