CCTV cars parading urban streets have raked in more than £8m in fines from almost 200,000 motorists over the last year.

The 54 Smart cars have snapped 188,000 motorists committing offences between April 2009 and March 2010 according to research by Big Brother Watch, generating an average of £187,668 per car.

A total of 187,993 drivers were punished by the mobile CCTV units, which are operated by 31 local councils around the country. The majority of these councils are in London, but there are also some patrolling the streets of Kent and the North West.

The council that made the most from its cars is the London borough of Lambeth, which brought in £1.6m from its three patrolling cameras.

The cars patrol the council's streets and capture images of motorists breaking road laws, but there have been suggestions that the camera cars are also guilty of breaking laws while on their rounds. Big Brother Watch claims that there have been several reported instances of the cars parking on double yellow lines in order to photograph motorists.

The information was obtained by a Freedom of Information request that was sent to all the councils that run the camera cars.