PARENTS who put children’s lives at risk by parking illegally outside schools should be made an example of and shamed, leading councillors have said.

Senior members of Darlington Borough Council said concerns were mounting near numerous schools over safety at drop-off and pick-up times.

At a full authority meeting, the council’s opposition leader, Councillor Heather Scott called for the council’s ten-strong team of traffic wardens to step up enforcement over “stupid and illegal parking outside schools”.

She said: “These parents park anywhere. They park on double yellow lines, on corners, residents parking areas. Some of them sit for ages chatting with engines running. Examples have to be made of these parents.

“Stupid parking by parents not only puts their own children at risk, but other people’s children, and somehow or other we have got to start making an example of them.

“I am quite sure that other people in other parts of the town which have problems parking around schools will welcome that.”

Cllr Scott said meetings were due to be held with head teachers at Polam School on Grange Road and St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Primary on Beechwood Avenue in an attempt to get the message across to parents.

The authority’s leadership said strenuous efforts had already been made to tackle unsafe parking.

Children and young people’s boss Councillor Cyndi Hughes said the council’s civil enforcement team had responded to complaints about “extremely dangerous” parking which had obstructed views onto Victoria Road, Bedford Street and Clifton Road. She said: “It has made a huge difference the action they have taken on behalf of residents when they have reported it.”

Community protection boss Councillor Helen Crumbie said to in a bid to resolve the issue in Whinfield ward she had gone on patrol with police and spoken directly to parents.

Councillor Chris McEwan, the council’s deputy leader, added unsafe parking had also affected The Education Village on Salters Lane South.

He said: “It’s not just about enforcement, it’s about education, it’s about modern communities and modern schools and young people as well. One of the innovative measures that we have explored is about mock parking tickets designed by the kids to try and shame people.

“It’s a common problem across the town. There’s a number of solutions, it’s not just about enforcement, but I won’t deny enforcement does play its role at times.”

A council spokesman urged residents to call officers on 01325-405222 or email to report vehicles is parking on zig-zag lines outside a school, or illegally on yellow lines.

He said: “Please include as much information as possible, including registration number, school and times. As cars are usually only there a few minutes to pick up and drop off children, the car may be gone by the time you contact us, but we may be able to establish a pattern.”