Kingston Council-branded traffic monitoring cars across the borough have sparked complaints after they were spotted parked up in unusual places.
Cars parked on double yellow lines and in cycle lanes have led residents to question whether one rule exists for them, and another for the CCTV monitors.
And the answer, it seems, is yes.
A council spokesman said: “The CCTV cars are covered by a traffic order exemption, which applies when they are being used in the council’s service to enforce parking contraventions.
“When a CCTV car is waiting it is gathering evidence to support the issue of a penalty charge notice.”
One resident spotted a car in a cycle lane in Cox Lane, Chessington. She said: “They park here for a few hours and seem to be enjoying the rest time.
“When they have been told that they are parking on double yellows and across a cycle path, they ignore you and continue to be stationary there.”
Businessman Richard Hunt, from the Chessington Business Centre opposite the Cox Lane bus gate, snapped a photo of a CCTV car’s periscope peeking over a hedge near the junction.
He said: “It’s robbery.
“Hiding behind a bush and putting that telescopic camera up in the air – no one can see it.”
Can you see me? A CCTV car's periscope pops up over a hedge, in the middle of this picture
Traffic enforcement began at Cox Lane last month. Cars must use a separate lane to buses as they approach Sanger Avenue.
A council spokesman added: “If drivers complied with traffic regulations [in Cox Lane] then the CCTV car could be sent to ensure safety in other places, such as outside schools.
“Places where the CCTV vehicle can park to gather evidence at this location are limited.”