FINES are failing to stop drivers illegally using disabled parking bays in Hebburn town centre.
Many able-bodied drivers are still flouting the law by using the bays, in Station Road.
A disabled Gazette reader has again photographed vans and cars parked illegally in the bays, near a store and a post office.
Some disabled drivers were recently forced to use the shopping centre car park in the pouring rain because the bays were being occupied illegally.
Countering claims that nothing is being done about the problem, South Tyneside Council has fined several drivers for misusing the parking places.
Coun John McCabe, vice-chairman of South Tyneside Council’s Hebburn community area forum, said: “We have an enforcement team from the council keeping an eye on those parking bays virtually every day.
“Fixed penalties have been imposed, and these increase if they are not paid within a certain time.
“We believe that hitting people in their pockets is the best way to deal with this problem.
“This all gets down to drivers not wanting to walk from the shopping centre, where there are normally plenty of spaces.”
The Gazette has highlighted the issue of able-bodied drivers using the bays several times.
A local disabled driver, who photographed the most recent offenders in Station Road, said: “We have had a spread in the Gazette about this before, but still nothing is done.
“Disabled drivers were forced to use the shopping centre car park recently, in the pouring rain, because all the disabled bays on Station Road were taken up.”
Coun McCabe added: “The council uses a special traffic enforcement vehicle, with a camera on top, and that visits Station Road regularly.
“People are still ignoring the law by using the bays, but we believe anyone who is fined will not park there again.”