THESE pictures show what happened to Wirral Council's controversial 'spy' car when it was hit by a bus.

The surveillance vehicle was parked in Bebington Village. According to Globe readers, its driver opened the door just as a bus was passing.

As a result the Smart Car's door was almost ripped off its hinges.

Luckily neither of the drivers were injured, but concerns have been raised by readers that the car, which is operated by the council's parking enforcement contractor NSL, was illegally parked.

A spokesman for the authority denied that this was the case.

The photographs were sent in by a reader who remarked: "As a rate payer I would like to know why the parking enforcement vehicle was parked on a single yellow line when it would seem the driver decided to open the door to have it ripped off?

"Does the authority consider itself exempt from its own parking regulations and as the vehicle has been clearly photographed whilst illegally parked will you be issuing and the driver paying a statutory fine?"

A spokesperson said: "A CCTV vehicle operated by NSL was involved in a minor road traffic collision with a bus whilst carrying out parking enforcement activity on behalf of Wirral Council. "Nobody was injured, although both vehicles were damaged and were taken off the road for repair.”

"A replacement CCTV vehicle has been deployed by NSL so there will be no gap in the provision of parking enforcement services."

The vehicle is a Smart car fitted 11ft 'periscope' camera.. Its primary use is to catch and fine errant motorists who park on zig zag lines outside schools, but it also being used to snap drivers who stop on double yellow lines near to cashpoint machines.

In response to concerns that the vehicle was parked illegally the council spokesman said: “In order for the camera car to carry out its work safely, the car has special dispensation to park in some areas, when necessary, when undertaking enforcement activity. This is reviewed on a case by case basis.”