VANDALS have voided possibly hundreds of parking tickets after graffiti made the rules of the road unenforceable.

Council bosses said parking signs have been deliberately targeted in Barrow town centre.

Vandals have spray painted short stay parking notices meaning drivers who overstay the allotted time cannot be fined. Resident permit schemes have also being abused.

One “entrepreneur” on Barrow Island had tried to sell on their free visitors permit pass allowing 60 days parking, said Barrow mayor Cllr Kevin Hamilton.

Cllr Hamilton spoke out after the lowest number of parking tickets were given out in Barrow than anywhere else in Cumbria last month.

“We can’t win,” said Cllr Hamilton. “There’s far more cars about now than there ever was.”

He was speaking after it was revealed that Barrow motorists were given 205 parking tickets in May.

This compares to Carlisle where 1,219 were slapped on windscreens – more than 1,000 more.

A total of 1,041 tickets were given out in Allerdale, 433 in Copeland, 396 in South Lakeland and 251 in Eden.

The figure put Barrow at the bottom-of-the-table for parking tickets for the month.

Cumbria County Council enforces on-street parking as the highways authority.

Cllr Hamilton said Barrow suffered from a lack of clear signs and lines – making some streets “unenforceable”.

Civil enforcement officers cannot penalise errant parkers if the signs are vandalised or the lines are broken.

As a result, the county council is looking at bringing in plastic signs rather than metal ones so they cannot be painted over.

Cllr Hamilton named Robert Street and Hall Street as bad for problem parking.

“The residents there can often never get parked outside their own houses,” said Cllr Hamilton, chairman of Barrow’s local committee.

However, whenever the county council introduced restrictions – it shifted the problem on to neighbouring streets, he said.

Barrow Council checks for over-stayers and non-payers on its council-run car parks, and introduced “free after 3pm”.

Cllr Hamilton said it was a move to encourage people into the town centre.

For April and May 2019, Barrow’s on-street parking ticket total was 475.

It put the town second behind rural Eden where just 449 tickets were issued.

Carlisle notched up the highest number of penalty notices in April and May with 2,036 given out. Motorists in South Lakeland received 976.

A county council spokesman said the number of tickets issued was subject to a range of reasons.

BAE Systems had encouraged staff to park responsibly as well as providing more car parking, he said, which may explain the lower number issued in Barrow last month. The spokesman added that Barrow was the smallest district in the county and the amount of through traffic was less than other areas of Cumbria.

Carlisle had many motorists passing through, while Allerdale includes popular tourist destinations such as Keswick. Incoming visitors unfamiliar with the parking regime, could fall foul of the restrictions, he said. This was also true of South Lakeland, which drew in large numbers of motorists.