PARENTS parking illegally outside a school in Grays are sticking tape over their car’s number plates to avoid being caught by Thurrock Council’s CCTV car.

At the end of March, the council released the vehicle on to the borough’s streets in a bid to tackle dodgy parking outside schools and improve safety.

During its first month, the little car equipped with cameras - named PIPPA by primary school students - has led to 30 penalty charges being served for illegal parking.

But speaking during a meeting of the council on Wednesday night, Cllr Angie Gaywood, the authority’s lead on public protection, said some parents are getting “canny” as they try to avoid being caught outside Woodside Primary School in Grays.

Speaking after the meeting, she said: “It is alleged that one or two parents parking outside Woodside have resorted to placing tape of some description over their number plates.

“I have reported this to the police to make some enquiries as obviously this is an offence if found to be true.”

Essex Police confirmed they had been made aware of the issue. A spokesman said: “We’ve been made aware of this problem and are investigating.

“Not displaying a valid number plate is an offence. If anyone has any information on these incidents, please let officers at Grays police station know.”

The CCTV car is being piloted in the borough for six months. It is hoped if the trial period is successful, the use of the car can be expanded.

Cllr Gaywood added: “I am pleased with how the pilot of the CCTV car is going. It made a slow start as there were problems with new software, so contraventions had to be manually mapped, hence it being spotted everywhere to start with.

“But it’s just a trial so we are looking at ensuring it makes a difference to how people park, especially outside our schools.”