SPY cars have dished out more than 45 fines a day to Southend motorists during their first six months in the borough.
The Echo can reveal traffic wardens driving Southend Council’s two CCTV
enforcement cars have caught 5,644 drivers breaking the rules since they
were introduced in July.
When the Echo revealed the cars’ tally after just two weeks of
operations, they were racking up an average of 17 penalty tickets a day –
things have certainly upped a gear since then.
After six months, the fines have raised at least £141,000 for the council’s coffers.
Tony Cox, Tory councillor responsible for transport, said: “On the
whole, the feedback I have had about them has been generally positive.
“Sometimes mistakes do happen and I am not pretending these cars have been perfect.
“But in the vast majority of cases, the fines are justified. The high
rate of fines is reflective of the fact the cars can cover more ground
than a warden on foot.”
The spy cars were introduced earlier this year to combat problems with
parents parking inconsiderately outside schools when picking up, or
dropping off, their children.
As part of their operation guidelines, each car has to keep watch outside two schools every day.
They have also been used to target roads which have become notorious for
motorists flouting parking restrictions, often following tip-offs from
residents. But their distinctive markings and permission to park on
yellow lines while catching other drivers has angered many motorists.
Graham Ray, 59, of Crowstone Avenue, Westcliff, received a fine after he stopped to repair a flat tyre in Kensington Road, Southend.
He said: “They are a menace and they’re alienating people. All I wanted was for them to apply a little common sense.”
Instead of issuing a standard parking ticket, the spy cars take a note
of the offending vehicle’s registration number and a fine is then sent
out in the post.
Because they do not operate at the weekends, their fines total has been racked up during 123 weekdays since July.
Penalties range from £25 to £35, but are doubled for those who don’t pay within 14 days.