By Daily Mail Reporter
Unsuspecting motorists were stung for more than £8million in fines last year by a fleet of ‘drive-by spy cars’.
The 187,993 victims of the CCTV-equipped Smart cars included parents stopping momentarily to drop off children by the school gates.
Civil liberties campaigners described the cars as ‘a very dangerous escalation in Britain’s surveillance society’.
Big Brother Watch revealed there are currently 54 CCTV Smart cars patrolling 31 local council areas.
The cars include a mast, which is up to 15ft in length, with a periscope-mounted camera attached at the top.
Councils park the vehicles at known ‘hot-spots’ and junctions to monitor traffic.
Common offences include parking on double yellow lines and straying into bus lanes.
In Ilford, North East London, the council purchased a Smart car specifically to catch ‘inconsiderate parents parking dangerously outside schools’.
According to Freedom of Information requests, the cars have made councils at least £8,069,714 in fines in the period April 2009 to this March.
This is equal to £322,788 for every council operating a CCTV Smart car, or £187,667 per car. Six councils, operating 11 cars, did not provide fine data.