BEFORE Christmas, we asked readers to send us examples of anti-social pavement parking in Huntingdonshire.

In addition to the £3million Cambridgeshire County Council has had to spend repairing footpath damage caused by pavement parking, the practice is both dangerous and illegal.

It is, however, something about which Cambridgeshire Police seems to be in two minds.

A spokesman said: "Parking illegally is an emotive issue for many people and is regularly adopted as a policing priority at neighbourhood panel meetings.

"Not only is it illegal to park on pavements, it is also extremely inconsiderate and can force pedestrians into the road, making them vulnerable and potentially placing them in a dangerous situation.

"Anyone parking illegally could face a £30 fine, so our message is clear - the roads are for drivers and the pavements are for pedestrians, so keep them clear."

But she added: "We can give people tickets for illegal parking, but it's not a very useful thing for police officers to be doing."

One of the main causes of damage to roadside footpaths is motorists parking cars, vans and lorries on surfaces that were not designed to take their weight, according to the county council, which has to repair the damage.

While roads are engineered to accept pounding from axles up to 10 tonnes for years before they need reconstruction, pavements are designed only for pedestrian traffic. Anything heavier causes progressive damage, often made worse by bad weather, and can lead to trips, falls and compensation claims.

"It really is unnecessary and does not benefit other motorists, as the people who do it presumably intend," said County Councillor Mac McGuire, who has cabinet responsibility for transport.

Among those readers who responded was Roy White, who lives in The Avenue, in Godmanchester, and who said: "One of the worst places in this area for pavement parking is Post Street in Godmanchester.

"While this is a very busy stretch of road there is sufficient width to allow the traffic to pass in both directions without needing the small amount of extra space which the pavement parking allows," he added.

"It severely restricts the width of the pavement and causes difficulties for pedestrians, mobility scooters and mums with pushchairs, particularly since the cyclists seem to believe that it is an extension of the cycleway along The Avenue."

Ironically, a cycleway would have been in Post Street, along with parking restrictions, if councillors had not bowed to pressure from pavement parkers some years ago and abandoned the proposal.

Another reader, who asked us not to disclose his name, believes The Ridgeway in Eynesbury qualifies for first prize in the illegal parking stakes.

He sent two examples, adding: "The police do nothing and say there is not a problem. Double yellow lines up to Potton Road would solve the problem."