City council spy car nets 100 drivers a month
MORE than 100 motorists a month are being hit with fines from a council CCTV car after being caught parking on double yellow lines, in loading bays and on pedestrian crossings.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council's 'spy car' has issued 1,813 parking fines of between £50 and £70 in the past 18 months for those offences.
Motorists in Tunstall, Longton and Stoke town centres have been worst hit.
The 1,813 fines are in addition to the 8,074 penalties handed to motorists caught driving in the city's bus lanes.
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Town centre traders today accused the council of using the spy car as a 'money-making tool'.
So far, the council CCTV car has issued:
688 fines in Tower Square, Tunstall;
224 fines in Hill Street, Stoke;
173 fines in Market Place, Burslem;
76 fines in College Road, Shelton.
Tunstall Chamber of Trade chairman Bill McDonald, who owns Copy-Cad, said: "I see the car an awful lot. It comes around several times a day. It seems to target areas which are easy, rather than looking where there is a real problem.
"The CCTV car is a good little tool if used in the right way and not just to make money. There is a desperate struggle for parking in the town." Save Our Stoke campaign co-ordinator Graham Barrett believes motorists are shunning town centre car parks because of the high parking charges.
The 61-year-old, of Stoke, said: "I am amazed by the amount of people who have been caught by this car.
"The council isn't doing itself any favours by making parking so expensive. We live in a very depressed area and people are choosing to park anywhere other than car parks to avoid the charges."
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire co-ordinator for the Association of British Drivers, pictured, added: "People have always done things like pull up on yellow lines for a few minutes but it is only recently they have been getting caught by CCTV cars.
"Councils buy these cars at such high prices and the fines are just one way of getting their money back."
The figures have emerged after The Sentinel revealed the council plans to make an extra £780,000 through additional parking enforcement in 2013/14.
City Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for transportation, said: "The car is used to enforce parking restrictions. It is clearly marked and is there to deter motorists from parking or driving in areas which cause road safety issues, congestion, hazards and obstructions for other road users."