HUNDREDS of bargain hunters turned up at a Fitzwilliam car boot sale which opened for the first time in three years yesterday – with the first eager punter arriving at 3am.
The Catchpenny car boot sale, held at Catchpenny Farm, was closed by Wakefield Council in 2006 under a medieval by-law which prevented rival markets setting up within six-and-two-thirds of a mile of the city's market.
But the authority decided to rethink its decision after a petition, signed by more than 20,000 people, was handed to Coun Denise Jeffery, the council's deputy leader, last June.
It was also handed to the House of Commons by Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett.
The U-turn was announced last month when Wakefield Council gave the sale the go-ahead.
As the gates opened at 6am yesterday shoppers flocked to celebrate its return.
John Helliwell, of Fitzwilliam, who runs the sale, said he was happy the tradition was back on track.
He said: "I'm pleased so many people were here. We advertised to open at 6am but the first person turned up at 3am and there's been a steady trickle since.
"I would like to thank Jon Trickett, Coun Denise Jeffery, Coun Glyn Lloyd, Linda Young and everyone who helped get the car boot sale back."
Shopper Barbara Geraghty, 64, of Wynford Drive, South Elmsall, said: "I'm so pleased it's open again. It's lovely to come out for a couple of hours. There's a lot of variety and choice on the stalls, it's brilliant.
"It just shows you what the people want. I hope it's a roaring success like it was before. They deserve it and have campaigned for long enough."
Barbara Pollard, 64, of Lime Pit Lane, Stanley, said: "It's nice for local people to have something to do on a Wednesday.
"You can get a bargain here. It's also a meeting place because everyone knows each other."
Joan Collier, 65, of Lane Ends Close, Fitzwilliam, had been a regular visitor at the event before it was banned.
She said: "It's what the village wants because there's nothing anymore. You can get some cheap stuff. It's smashing."