THE Basildon “spy car” raked in almost £84,000 in parking fines in the past 12 months, down more than 18 per cent on the previous year.

South Essex Parking Part- nership figures show the mobile enforcement vehicle caught 3,024 people in the past year, bringing in £83,806 in fines.

This compares with the 12 months to September 2010, when £118,171 was raised, and £102,930 in the next year.

It is believed the reduction in fines has come about as drivers are now more aware of the tough stand against illegal parking.

The parking partnership took control of the car in April 2011 from Basildon Council.

The distinctive white Toyota, dubbed “the Beast of Basildon”, was introduced in September 2009 and is fitted with a camera.

Its video evidence leads to £60 fines for motorists caught parking on double yellow lines or in other places they shouldn’t be.

The parking partnership, which was set up in April 2011, said the money collected in fines was used for the continued running of the partnership and parking schemes in Basildon.

John Dornan, Basildon coun- cillor responsible for the environment, said he thought this type of parking enforcement brought better results.

He said: “I fully support this process. There is an appeal process for people who believe they are harshly caught. It is a lot of money, but what I find most surprising is people are still parking where they shouldn’t.”

The total revenue from on-street parking fines across the whole of south Essex between August 2011 and September 2012 was £800,564.

This was down a quarter from £1,068,257 in the previous year.