Parents will be placed under surveillance outside schools to stop the "daily nightmare" of dangerous parking putting children at risk.

The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) has unveiled the Park Safe camera car, which will patrol schools across the district.

NEPP chairman Robert Mitchell said: “I think it will only take three or four tickets at each school before the message gets around that it‘s not worthwhile to stop in the wrong place.”

“This is not a spy car, it is highly visible and motorists will only be fined if they are committing an offence.”

It is hoped the car will be self-funding, with half of profits from penalty notices paid to operating company Capita.

The car was launched today at Hillhouse Primary School in Ninefields, Waltham Abbey, where there have been long–running problems with irresponsible parking.

Headteacher Joanne Wilcox said: “It’s a great scheme, anything to stop this daily nightmare.

“Sometimes you see cars coming around the corner and you just put your hands across your face and hope they don’t hit anyone.”

Louise Wackett a governor at the school said: “It’s inexcusable for parents to be doing this especially when we have a lot of really good parking.

“They are putting other people’s children at risk.”

The car will patrol around 300 schools across the five participating districts in Essex including more than 50 in Epping Forest.

Natasha Richardson, 24, a mother who parks outside Roydon Primary School in Epping Road, Roydon said: "It's an absolute nightmare here especially if a lorry or bus comes down the road.

"I don't agree with people getting fined though because there's nowhere else to park. It would be fair enough if there were more spaces available."

Sandra Williams, 47, also picks her child up from the school.

She said: "I think all the area outside the school should be double yellow lined because it's too hazardous.

"Parents can park a little way away and walk to the school. It would be safer and it's healthy."

The camera will automatically begin filming when in a controlled parking zone outside a school and will shut off when the car leaves the area.

Footage will then be seen by council officers and a judgement made as to whether a violation has occurred.

Epping Forest District Council’s transport portfolio holder, Gary Waller, said: “The council gets more complaints about these infringements than any other traffic offences.

“The scheme is about ensuring the safety of the children and not about making money.”