RUSHMOOR'S super-efficient traffic wardens are proving so effective that some Aldershot traders are on the brink of ruin, the Mail can reveal.

With the wardens, now under the control of Rushmoor Council rather than the police, in full flow, shoppers, residents and traders have all felt the full force of the law.

Even the briefest stay on double yellow lines carries the real risk of a £60 penalty ticket, and the wardens have not been slow to dish out the punishment.

Aldershot councillor Mike Roberts, not known for his love of the motorist, fears that the wardens might just be doing their jobs too well.

He said: "I can name you two shops in the High Street who took less than £30 on a Saturday," he said. "What the traders are saying is that it's too much.

"They need at least a 20-minute parking bay so they can load and offload and so that shoppers have somewhere to park. It really is hitting them hard."

Traders in Victoria Road, Station Road and High Street are thought to be suffering the most.

Rushmoor took over parking responsibilities from the police on June 5 and parking manager Mike Bamber admitted there was much to do at the time.

"The police had to manage on very limited resources," he said, "and parking contraven-tion was commonplace.

"When we started we inherited a town of habitual and blatantly irresponsible parking. We set about tackling the problem and we have done that, but now we have reached a stage where we need to respond to traders with a genuine need."

Mr Bamber said that some traders had previously parked on double yellow lines at the front of their shops, even though they had loading bays at the back, but he accepts they are not all in that position.

"Some have no rear access and we need to look very carefully at what we can provide them," he said.

The issue was due to be debated at a traffic focus group meeting yesterday,with loading areas for shops without rear access and 20-minute pop-in parking bays for customers on the agenda.

Town centre manager Jenny Rawlings has been at the heart of the campaign to find a solution and has sent out 300 questionnaires.

She said: "It is hoped that the introduction of time limited parking bays and loading bays will be endorsed and implemented as soon as is feasible."

Mr Bamber had a message for worried shopkeepers: "Hold tight for a short period. We are actively looking at improving parking and loading facilities for traders, shoppers and residents where there is a genuine need."

There is now a team of 13 traffic wardens policing Rushmoor.

They work on a rota, and on any given day there are three or four in Aldershot and the same number in Farnborough (depending on the time of day). On a typical day, two patrol Aldershot town centre.