More than 25 motorists flout strict rules every day by driving over the Medieval bridge in St Ives, according to a study carried out by the town council.

Only vehicles which weigh in excess of three tonnes are permitted to drive over the bridge, allowing ease of access to the centre of town for emergency crews and delivery drivers.

But a survey carried out on behalf of St Ives Town Council found that an average of 26 vehicles which did not meet the weight limit were caught driving over the bridge every day.

Councillors asked CCTV operators in Huntingdon to monitor use of the bridge over a one-week period, and they found 182 cases where people broke the rules, including six cases where motorists went the wrong way over the bridge.

The matter came to a head last Wednesday (September 9) where, at a meeting of the town council, councillors agreed to take the information to Cambridgeshire police in order to clamp down on the practice.

The mayor of St Ives, Councillor Ian Jackson, said: "To have traffic constantly crossing the bridge is a major safety issue so certain vehicles are banned.

"But we have had lots of incidents of these rules being ignored and locals attempting to dissuade drivers from crossing that have led to altercations and tempers being lost.

"We asked the CCTV operators if they would do a survey and I was surprised to see that 182 cases were recorded. I didn't think it would be that high and I think it is good for our electorate to know the scale of the problem."

Cllr Jackson said that, based on the evidence from the survey, and anecdotal reports, it was taxi drivers who were the most frequent offenders.

He said: "I have spoken to our community policeman Sgt Street and he has pointed out that the majority of the culprits are taxi drivers. He is going to make a point of discussing these findings with companies to spread the message. He also emphasised that many people simply do not understand that the reason the bridge has a minimum weight limit of three tons is because vehicles larger than this cannot turn around safely."