WARNING notices have been slapped on the windscreens of almost 2,000 illegally parked cars in just three weeks.
Police handed responsibility over to the council to patrol the roads in Seaham, Easington Village, Easington Colliery and Chester-le-Street on Monday, November 7.
In the first two weeks of the new scheme, parking wardens issued 1,600 advice and guidance letters throughout the towns and villages.
In the following week, a further 375 were written up.
The officers are now beginning to serve fines, which are fixed at £70 and reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.
Adrian White, Durham County Council’s head of transport, said: “The purpose of parking enforcement is to improve road safety and reduce congestion by dissuading motorists from contravening parking restrictions, not to raise revenue.
“Therefore, for the first three weeks of enforcement, we chose to offer advice and guidance to motorists contravening restrictions rather than a penalty charge notice.
“As we are now actively enforcing parking restrictions in these areas, we urge motorists to park in a safe, considerate and legal manner to avoid receiving a penalty charge notice.”
The authority had been due to take on the job in April, but was hit by delays as it waited for the go ahead from the Department for Transport.
It has said by taking over the role, the council has ensured income raised from penalty notices is reinvested within the county and does not go in to a central fund.
Extra parking spaces were created in Marlborough, Seaham, during the summer, with suggestions made by the town’s business forum further spaces could be created on a grassed area between North Railway Street and South Railway Street.
Anyone who wants further information on the changes can call the Parking Services Team on 383 5551.