The borough's council has been accused of committing highway robbery after enforcing unlawful traffic restrictions.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been collected from unlawful traffic fines on Tottenham roads, a ward councillor for the area has revealed.

Between December 2005 and May 2006, the council issued more than 3,700 fines to drivers who stopped in two yellow box junctions in Philip Lane, Tottenham.

However, according to the Department for Transport the road markings were illegal and the council had to stop enforcing them.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Tottenham Hale councillor Alan Stanton reveal 2,627 of those fines were paid, raking in around £168,000.

The Labour councillor turned whistleblower on his council this week and condemned its past activities.

advertisementMr Stanton said: "It's highway robbery. We've taken thousands of pounds off people we had no right to take.

"I'm in favour of parking restrictions, however the aim should be compliance not income generation. What we should be aiming at is not earning millions to fill the hole in our budget, but zero fines."

He demanded the council pay back all the fines and added: "Haringey is behaving like a fifth-rate market stall trader. It's incompetence at a very high level. We're destroying the trust people have in local authorities and that's very serious."

But the council revealed to Mr Stanton it would not be able to refund motorists' fines. A statement sent to him inresponse to the Freedom of Information request said: "The persons issued with PCNs who paid and did not use their public right of appeal are not entitled to refunds. Motorists cannot ask for their cases to be reviewed once the appeal period has expired."

The junction was deemed unlawful as it was located outside a bus garage instead of at a junction with another road.

A council spokesman said: "This box junction was introduced in good faith. As soon as we discovered in March 2006 it did not comply with the technical regulations we ceased enforcement and gave refunds to motorists who appealed.

"There were 3,721 PCNs issued before March 16, and 25 after this date, which were issued in error. Of the 3,746 PCNs, 2,627 were paid and 1,119 were cancelled or written off. The revenue raised was £168,000."

Tottenham MP David Lammy said: "It is unacceptable if the council is unlawfully taking money like this. Constituents have contacted me and I will be raising the matter with the council immediately."