MOTORISTS are being warned to park properly in a County Durham market town - or pay the penalty.

Police in Barnard Castle have launched a clampdown on poor parking in the town centre after a number of complaints from residents.

Officers say the main problems are around the historic cobbles in Horse Market and Market Place, where cars are allowed to park except on market days.

Complaints have also been received about the situation in nearby Newgate and on The Bank.

The operation began last week and four fixed penalty notices were issued to motorists who had parked on the single yellow line on The Bank before 6pm when restrictions were in force.

Sgt Simon Rogers, of Banard Castle Police, said the intention was to educate drivers as well as punish parking offences.

“The parking situation always seems to rear its head in Barnard Castle and we do get a number of complaints from time to time. We have had quite a few just recently.

“We want to get the message across that we will be looking at the parking situation in the town as a whole.

“The main problem area is around the cobbles, where it is quite tight for space on the roads down there.”

Sgt Rogers said if advice and verbal warnings were not heeded, or cars were just left parked illegally, enforcement action would be taken.

The two-week campaign is likely to be one of Barnard Castle police's final pieces of action on parking before responsibility for enforcing regulations passes to Durham County Council.

Residents in Newgate, who have also raised concerns about motorists speeding past their homes, have been urged to bring the issue to the next Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting on Tuesday, February 12.