DRIVERS are trying to circumvent the Tyne Tunnel's new "barrierless" system in a bid to avoid being charged £1.90 each time, bosses have warned.

A number of drivers have been found attempting to get around the new ANPR system, just weeks after cash toll booths were removed from use.

Tyne Tunnel bosses said they had found 'infrared tape' was being used on some registration plates in an attempt to stop cameras picking up their details.

Read more: Tyne Tunnel bosses explain why there were traffic jams on first day

Fiona Bootle, Tyne Tunnels Manager, said drivers had tried to make their registration plates unrecognisable, with some using the tape to distort the full number.

The Northern Echo: Picture: GOOGLEPicture: GOOGLE

She said: “There are people who try to cover up part of their licence plate.

“People have been using infrared tape over the two end letters at each end so the camera picks it up and this tape only picks up the middle letters.

“There are all sorts of things that people try to do but these high-tech cameras pick up the licence plate four times as you go through, twice at the back of your car and twice at the front.

“This all goes into a computer system and for that car, one [image] will be clear, the four match up and they try and get a clarity on it.

“If it’s not clear, then it goes through a human check as well so that it’s the right registration.

“With that registration number, it’s the registered keeper who will be written to and that’s through the DVLA records.”

Ms Bootle had been speaking at Monday’s (November 29) meeting of the Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF) during a general update on the Tyne Pass scheme.

The comments about infrared tape came in response to a question from councillor Wilf Flynn about the technology behind the new tolling system and how it was working.

From there, councillors heard that registration details are collected while vehicles travel through the tunnels, which can be linked to a pre-paid account.

People who don’t want to use the pre-paid scheme can pay after, or before, their journey via the Tyne Tunnels website, on the mobile app, or by using the telephone line.

There will also still be the ability to pay by cash by using a PayPoint service in certain retailers.

Anyone travelling through the tunnels will have until midnight the day after their journey to ensure they have made a payment, otherwise enforcement action will be taken.

Tyne Tunnel officers reminded councillors that the toll does not make profit and pays off debt from the building of the second tunnel.

'The message is it doesn’t work'

Ms Bootle, Tyne Tunnels manager, warned that the method of using infrared tape is ineffective and that it simply prompted a member of staff to review the image.

She said: “This infrared tape you can’t really see it, it’s only the cameras.

“What has happened anyway is that it comes up as a low confidence reading on the systems and then that moves into a human check and the human check can see the right number plate.

“The infrared tape hasn’t been working for people but there’s an awful lot of people who must have bought it on eBay or read about it on the internet that are trying this infrared tape.

“The message is it doesn’t work. We still see their number plate and they still have to pay like everyone else.”

Drivers who fail to pay the Tyne Tunnel toll on time will receive a £30 unpaid toll charge notice if paid within 14 days, or £60 if paid within 28 days, in the post.

To support the new system, bosses say a phone helpline and appeals service has been set up to support users of the route.

To sign up for a pre-paid account for the Tyne Tunnels click here.


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