More than £1m has been taken off motorists by CCTV cars since they were rolled out in the Sutton last year.

The remit of the CCTV cars, initially brought in to enforce parking rules outside schools, was extended in March 2011 to include patrols across the borough looking for cars flouting parking rules.

From February to December, 2010, whilst carrying out schools enforcement, the car took £41k for Sutton Council.

But from March 2011 the smart car was commissioned to deal with other parking infringements and in May 2011 an additional vehicle was commissioned to deal with resident's concerns about inconsiderate parking.

The revenue collected by the cars in this period was £553,443.75, and so far this year, the much maligned cars have already collected £529,354.47.

They have caused controversy by being able to film motorists while parked on double yellow lines.

One motorist unfairly caught out by the cars was Lorraine Brown who was hit with a £55 for parking illegally for 19 seconds whilst dropping off her sister, but the ticket was later rescinded on appeal.

Emma Carr, deputy director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "The rise in fines over two years clearly highlights that the CCTV cars run by the Council is clearly not tackling the root causes of the problem.

"The council need to be clear whether the CCTV cars are actually acting as a deterrent for parking violations or are, in fact, merely a convenient source of cash.

"By taking decision-making away from officers and giving it to a CCTV car the council is moving rational decisions and good judgement away from the law enforcement process."

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chairwoman of Sutton's Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, said: "The CCTV Smart Car was introduced to the borough primarily to enforce traffic regulations outside schools which had concerns with road safety issues.

"This is still a top priority for the borough. However, after the successful pilot outside schools, we listened to resident and businesses who requested further enforcement via this method due to inconsiderate parking.

"As a result, another car was commissioned. The smart cars are the most efficient means of helping traffic run smoothly and deliver value for money to residents alongside real environmental benefits."

"Our careful management of traffic and parking issues helps us to remain the lowest Penalty Charge Notice-issuing borough in London."