Unpopular CCTV spy cars that illegally issued more than 18,500 parking fines are set to be taken off the road permanently.

Richmond Council, which failed to properly certify cameras in two of the vehicles, has already paid back more than £640,000 in refunds to 12,000 drivers.

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said: “These CCTV cars have been a menace to people for years and I for one will be glad to see the back of them.”

The council plans to axe all CCTV cars as well as introduce more flexible rules for motorists.

Drivers who return to their wrongly parked vehicles before a traffic warden has issued a ticket will be let off and delivery trucks will get a 10 minute “grace period” when dropping off goods instead of the current five minutes.

Lord True added: “Councils should not be in the business of trap now, talk later. We promised a review into these spy cars, given the importance of our fair parking agenda to bringing life back to our high streets.

“Many people see them to be an arbitrary and impersonal way of dealing with parking issues. The tactics used create the impression that councils are interested only in money.”

The council’s cabinet will discuss the plans on Thursday, November 24.