THE notorious Penalty Charge Notice, PCN, better known as a parking ticket to the thousands of drivers greeted by the offending bright yellow joys deposited on windscreens, are always an irritant.

Even if you are well aware you’re in the wrong and stayed past the allotted time, it’s still annoying to be caught out. But there did seem to be an idea that we were all in it together, in places like North Yorkshire, where in the past few years there has been a much heavier clampdown or indeed introduction of civil parking enforcement.

The point was that if you transgressed, your chances of getting caught were pretty similar. However, a new county council report throws doubt on this. Apparently, if you live in Bedale you are more likely to be handed a ticket, and Northallerton too, but not so in Harrogate or Richmond.

Bizarrely, and even highways officials seem a bit nonplussed by this, the number of PCNs delivered per traffic officer visit in Bedale is 1.16 tickets, in Northallerton 0.56, in Harrogate just 0.16 and Richmond 0.27.

There seems little sense to this as from what we can gather, the small and tranquil market town of Bedale is not a hotbed of traffic congestion or feverish battles for parking spaces.

Officers say it could be something to do with the way the figures are gathered, and clarity of signage. For drivers who are just trying to get from A to B without forking out a fortune, it rankles.

Apparently the aim of the on-street parking enforcement is to get 100 per cent compliance with the regulations, improve road safety and ease congestion. So that’s nothing to do with making money then, although the county council, who paid out £1.9m on it, did also bring in additional income of nearly £3m last year.