CHILDREN are risking death dodging motorists who ignore parking restrictions to drop youngsters off as close as possible to school.

Drivers clog the narrow streets surrounding the Timothy Hackworth Primary School, Shildon, daily so that pupils struggle to access the site.

Shildon police and Durham County Council traffic wardens regularly patrol Byerley Road, outside the 455 pupil school, and Oxford Street which runs alongside.

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But many motorists still ignore the no parking signs running the risk of £70 fines as they try to get as close as possible to the school exits.

The worst times are between Monday and Friday from 8.45am to 9am and around 3.30pm when the pupils, aged between two and 11-years, head home.

Headteacher Anne Dockray said: “We haven’t had an accident yet but there have been some close calls.

“We’ve tried a walking bus to get children to school and other schemes to cut back on the number of cars being used. None of them have worked.

“There’s plenty of public parking but some people insist on being at the front gate.”

Staff members who have asked drivers to move cars which have been causing a nuisance have been abused by the motorists.

Parent Wayne Williams, walks his sons Joe, ten, and Rhys, seven, to school each day.

He said: “I’m concerned about their safety due to all of the cars which are about. Some people who drive here could easily walk instead.”

PCSO Michael Robson, of Shildon police, said: “The majority of drivers are fine but the school is in a small built up area and some people seem to have an inability to walk.

“If some people could park in the classroom they would. Some parents park on the pavement. The parents in the cars would be the first to complain if their child was hit.”

Danny Harland, the council’s parking services team leader, said the school was a particular hot-spot for the authority.

He said: “As far as we are concerned visitors to the school need to know that parking dangerously is not acceptable.

“Where dangerous driving occurs we’ll work with the police and the enforcement officers to ensure that the children are safe.”