FEWER than one in 30 of the motorists fined by York's controversial "spy van" was parked near a school, new figures have revealed.

The CCTV safety van, which has been operating in York since March, was introduced following calls from head teachers who were concerned about illegally and potentially dangerous parking in and around schools.

But now City of York Council has revealed that by July 12, only 21 enforcement notices had been issued at school locations, while 637 had been issued at "locations other then school locations" - about 97 per cent of the total.

Osbaldwick Independent councillor Mark Warters, who obtained the statistics, said they confirmed what he had suspected, that the spy car was just the latest move by 'anti-car, non-car driving zealots' to harass drivers in the city.

He said he had particular concerns about the use of the van to target traders, customers and delivery vehicles in Murton Lane, Osbaldwick, but said that even in the vicinity of schools, it just moved the problem of parents parking into nearby streets.

The Press has previously revealed that some of the streets targeted by the van included Garden Place off Stonebow, where 148 fines were issued, including 14 in a single day, and Clifford Street .

Andy Laslett, the authority's strategic services manager, said that like other local authorities, York was using the patrol car as a means of deterring illegal or dangerous parking.

"We're pleased that it seems to be effective not only outside schools but also by supplementing the work of traffic enforcement officers," he said.

"On www.york.gov.uk we list the car's route which includes areas with parking restrictions that do not require an observation, such as loading bans and clearways, so everyone can ensure they park legally and safely."

Andrea Hellam, head teacher of Badger Hill Primary School, one of those to request support from the patrol car, said parked cars had moved away from the school entrance, which had previously been a problem.