MOTORISTS who park illegally in Rushmoor will soon face swingeing "fines" under a new tough regime to be operated by the borough council.

Those who overstay their time in council car parks and parking bays will also be hit by the shock £20 increase in fixed penalty charges.

The council has recruited an army of traffic wardens to ensure that those who ignore the regulations will be caught.

They will be patrolling the streets from first thing in the morning until last thing at night, including Sundays.

Those caught parking illegally, or overstaying their time in car parks, will be "fined" £60 instead of the present £40.

To soften the blow, the penalty will be reduced to £30 for those who pay within 14 days.

The crackdown, to be introduced on June 5, follows the agreed transfer of on-street parking enforcement from the police to the council.

Jim Pettitt, council highways chief, said: "Our aim is to persuade motorists to park in the car parks and not on the streets.

"Parking restrictions are introduced for good reasons, and we often receive complaints that they are not enforced." He added that the council had no say in the new fixed penalty charge which is set by central government

The crackdown will stun scores of local motorists who, for years, have parked illegally without being caught.

They have got away with it because the police, with their tight budget, have had difficulty recruiting sufficient traffic wardens.

At present there are only two traffic wardens patrolling Rushmoor, with a third one being shared with Hart.There are nine car park attendants.

The council will in future employ 15- the present combined staff plus three recruits- who will be responsible for keeping an eye on the car parks as well as parking violators. They will be paid a flat rate with no bonus scheme.

Hampshire County Council is paying the £120,000 bill for setting up the scheme, which will include computerised machines for issuing fixed penalty tickets. The "fines" will help pay the operating costs. Any profits will be used for traffic management improvements in Rushmoor, such as the introduction of more residents' parking schemes.

Coun. Roland Dibbs, Rushmoor's environment cabinet member, said: "We will be managing parking in a fair and consistent way, which I know our local community will welcome."