Motorists are being urged to park responsibly in St Ives following an increase in offences in the town centre.

Officers have handed out "a number" of tickets in recent weeks when people have chosen to inappropriately park in the loading bays located in Bridge Street, Market Hill and Station Road.

Cambridgeshire police were unable to say how many tickets had been issued but said it had been a marked increase.

The areas concerned can be used by private vehicles, but only for a short period of time when collecting large items from nearby shops. They are not to be used for shopping trips or to use other facilities in the town.

Sergeant Andrew Street said: "The misuse of the loading bays in St Ives is causing problems for businesses in the town centre. It seems many drivers believe that they can park in the loading bays if they are merely shopping in those streets, or using a business such as a bank or hairdresser.

"This causes a great deal of problems in the town as commercial vehicles are unable to access the businesses to which they are delivering. Loading and unloading must be a continuous activity and the vehicle must be moved once it is complete, even if the delivery only takes a couple of minutes.

"The loading bays are mainly for the use of commercial vehicles but can be used by private cars for the loading and unloading of heavy items.

"That doesn't mean that a person can park in a loading bay, go shopping and buy several items, put them into shopping bag and take them to their car.

"Items should be pre-purchased and the loading bay used to collect them from the shop if they are too heavy or bulky to carry to the car park. These regulations also apply to vehicles displaying disabled permits."