Almost £300million - that’s how much London’s motorists forked out in penalty fines last year.

A total of 6 million drivers were collared by cops in 2005 for a variety of motoring offences, from illegal parking to bus lane encroachment. But the biggest increase was in so-called "moving traffic offences", which includes the controversial - yet totally justified - clampdown on drivers who stop in box junctions, and those who drive the wrong direction in one-way streets.

According to the official statistics released today, 400,000 people were caught in this category of offence.

The Association of London Government also said that the total number of annual fines had increased by 4% but clamping was down by a third to just under 100,000 cars.

estminster was named as the London borough with the most trigger-happy traffic enforcement officers, with 715,085 penalty notices issued. This is down from 817,000 the previous year.

It appears that motorists are getting the message about bus lanes, though. Fines related to this offence were down massively - from 697,000 to just 137,000 across the capital.