BAILIFFS will soon be knocking on the doors of motorists who refuse to pay Rushmoor Council's parking fines.

They will be employed as a last resort by the council which took over parking enforcement from the police five months ago.

Their visit will be an expensive one, defaulters are warned, with the bill totalling about £140 - more than twice the £60 parking ticket.

Mike Bamber, council parking manager, said: "We don't want it to get to this stage as far as motorists are concerned.

"We would much sooner they paid up straight away, but we won't hesitate to use the bailiffs if the situation requires it."

So far about 50 per cent of motorists booked by the council's 12 traffic wardens have settled up without any argument.

In the region of 500 have been sent charge certificates, which increases the parking "fine" to £90 with £5 costs.

Those who ignore the charge certificates risk a knock on the door from the bailiffs who will have the power to seize goods to the value of the outstanding amount.

Seven national bailiff firms have expressed an interest in working for Rushmoor, which will employ them in conjunction with Hart and Basingstoke councils.

A recent council report revealed that the traffic wardens dished out 5,990 parking tickets during the first five months of the scheme.

The report added that, since the council "take-over", the number of drivers who habitually ignored the parking regulations had reduced.

Council chiefs are now consulting traders with a view to making it easier both for people to pop in and out of shops, and to allow loading and unloading.