Motorists in Devizes have unwittingly totted up hundreds of pounds worth of fines by driving through Newman Road.

Rising bollards used to block access to cars, but they were removed by the council in January due to the mounting costs of repairs, after they became unreliable due to water damage.

The bus lanes are now enforced round-the-clock by cameras which photograph and fine motorists using the bus lanes.

There are no markings on the road itself specifying that cars are banned, meaning that some drivers mistakenly thought that the removed bollards meant the road was free to drive.

Molly Stringer, and her boyfriend Patrick, were shocked when a batch of fines came through the letterbox.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Patrick lives near to Newman Road so they have been using the road since the bollards were removed - but they say they only received all their 16 fines this month.

The fines total amount are worth hundreds of pounds between them, unless they are paid early to allow for a slight discount.

Molly, a hairdresser, said: “We had assumed the bollard was removed so that people could get access into town, and didn’t realise we had done anything wrong.

“We’ve got 16 fines now between the two of us and we will struggle to pay them.”

The pair tried to appeal to the council, but have had all their appeals rejected.

Despite unknowingly driving through the bus lane since the bollard was removed in January, they only got a mass-batch of fines four weeks ago.

Molly added: “We have used this access for a long time but it’s not until we received the fines that we realised we aren’t supposed to be using it. If we had been told this as residents of the area we wouldn’t have done so.”

Paul Raggett, has received two fines and has challenged both. He said the lack of markings made him fear the council wanted to catch out “unsuspecting” motorists.

He added: “The highway code says bus lanes are marked with signposts and road markings. There are no road markings.”

Others, on social media, have echoed the same sentiments. While there are signs at either side of Newman Road stating that there are bus lane cameras - not everyone noticed them, or were aware there was a financial penalty for motorists.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The cameraThe camera

One man said he had 19 fines, while others said their attempts to appeal the fines had been quashed. Many raised concerns that the fines were distributed in one batch, rather than earlier in the year.

Sam Fox, director for place for Wiltshire Council, said: “Following local consultation, the automated Bus Gate in Newman Road, Devizes, was removed last year and replaced with an Automatic Number Recognition (ANR) system in January.

“Mandatory signage was installed at both ends of the bus lane making it clear that access is for busses and bicycles only and that cameras are in operation. Whilst the signage complies with the regulations, we are aware that this hasn’t been fully understood by some road users who may have received a number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

"Now that this has been brought to our attention, we are reviewing the signage and the promotion of the new system to make it clearer.”

“Any motorist who feels they have been issued a PCN inappropriately can appeal and if motorists are not happy with the outcome, they can appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.”