MOTORISTS who park illegally face increased "fines" in Hart as well as Rushmoor from next Wednesday.

Both councils have chosen that day to launch a new tough regime aimed at ridding the streets of motorists who ignore "no parking" regulations.

Hart Council announced this week that it would be following in Rushmoor's footsteps and taking over on-street parking enforcement from the police.

The scheme will be a carbon copy of Rushmoor's, with fixed penalty "fines" rocketing from £40 to £60.

Those who overstay their time in council car parks will also face the same swingeing charges.

The crackdown is likely to come as a shock to motorists in Fleet and the large villages within its boundaries.

At present the police, because of their tight budget, have only one traffic warden to cover the area, whereas from next Wednesday four will be on patrol.

Dressed in distinctive maroon and charcoal grey uniforms - Hart's colours - they will be on the streets throughout the day until 8pm, six days a week.

Sundays will be a rest day unless the council receives complaints from residents about roads clogged with illegally parked vehicles.

Jim Pitkin, Hart's technical services chief, said the aim of the new measures was to "crack down on the thoughtless minority who abuse the system".

The council, he said, received regular complaints about drivers who parked on double yellow lines or in residents'-only parking bays.

Although the council will finance the scheme from the proceeds of the "fines", Mr Pitkin said: "The aim is not to go about issuing lots of tickets and persecuting motorists.

"We simply want those drivers who ignore parking restrictions to obey them in future."

Mr Pitkin added that the council had no say in the new fixed penalty charges which had been set by the Government.