WIRRAL drivers hoping for a fines refund after a council's "spy car" equipment was found to be incorrectly certified are in for disappointment.

Thousands of tickets issued by Richmond Council in south London could be ruled invalid after council bosses used the "wrong sort of camera."

Their CCTV Smart car cameras had not been declared an "approved device" by the Department of Transport. The surveillance cars have since been taken off the streets and Richmond Council indicated affected drivers could be due refunds.

But it has been confirmed to the Globe that Wirral Council's own controversial spy car has all its paperwork in order.

A town hall spokeswoman said: “Wirral Council applied for and received the relevant 'Certification of Approved Devices' from the Home Office in February, 2009.

"This certification allows us to undertake parking enforcement via the approved device (camera car) throughout Wirral.”

Last year a watchdog group claimed the car, which uses a 12ft-retractable periscope-style camera, helped the council raise more than £88,000 from parking fines.

Research by Big Brother Watch - a campaign group fighting intrusions on privacy and freedom - showed that £88,350 was raised through issuing fixed penalty notices and £3,078 from fines for parking contraventions in the borough.

But by law, the authority cannot make any money from parking enforcement and cash from fines is ploughed back into road safety measures.

The vehicle is operated by private parking contractor NCL.