A MAN who abandoned his caravan in a car park has been hit in the pocket, after receiving a fine and costs of more than £600.

Concerned residents in Brandon alerted Durham County Council to the abandoned caravan, in Beech Park car park, on June 22.

A neighbourhood warden was sent to investigate the complaints.

While the warden was taking photographs of the caravan in situ, residents approached and expressed fears about the poor state it was in, and to the fact children had begun to play in its vicinity.

Having tried to discover the identity of the owner locally, the warden traced the caravan to a Brandon woman using the registration number.

But, it was found she had sold it to Darren Clark, a resident in Beech Park.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard the council arranged for the caravan to be removed.

Clark paid the removal fees and collected the caravan on July 6. A fixed penalty notice was issued that day, but was not paid.

The 41-year-old was charged with abandoning a caravan on land which forms part of a public highway.

He did not attend the court and was found guilty in his absence.

The magistrates fined Clark £440 and ordered him to pay £130 costs, plus a £44 victim surcharge.

Ian Hoult, the county council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “Abandoned vehicles not only make our neighbourhoods look untidy, but they can be dangerous and harmful to the environment.

“They can attract children and, as this case demonstrates, that can cause a great deal of anxiety within communities.

“This prosecution demonstrates we will take action against those who abandon caravans and other vehicles.”

A spokesperson for Newton Magistates' Court has confirmed a halt has now been placed on the matter to allow Clark to "attend to make a statutory declaration".