VANDALS have left residents’ parking restrictions unenforceable after spray painting signs in East Oxford.

Six signs which inform drivers about residents’ parking schemes and time restrictions in Cave Street, Little Brewery Street and Cherwell Street have had silver car paint sprayed over them.

Last night tradesmen were blamed for the criminal damage with allegations they may have defaced the signs to avoid getting permits.

St Clement’s councillor Graham Jones called for police intervention.

He said: “It looks like it’s probably trade vehicle drivers trying to get around the fact they didn’t take the time to get a permit for the week.

“There is a maximum of two permits per street for trade vehicles, and there are a lot around at the moment because all the student housing is being refurbished.

“I raised this a few months ago with the council, and the city board member for Cleaner Greener Oxford , John Tanner, agreed it was a problem.

“I think that if there is evidence, that’s a good reason for the police to be involved.”

But a Thames Valley Police spokesman said the force had had no reports of criminal damage in any of the streets.

The vandalism has also angered residents, who say the resulting lack of enforcement could cause problems in their already-busy streets.

Annetta Badcock, 92, of Cherwell Street, said: “I think it’s wrong. There are lots of students up and down this road and they have cars, and they will park everywhere.”

Blue-badge holder Debbie Clarke, 51, also of Cherwell Street, said: “We had work done to our house, and we gave them a visitors’ permit, and that’s what everyone should have to do.”

In the last year, about 100 parking signs have been defaced in the city, according to the county council.

There are estimated to be 80,000 to 100,000 parking signs in Oxford.

County council spokesman Paul Smith said the authority would not enforce parking restrictions in the streets in question until the signs were cleaned or replaced.

He said: “Our parking attendants always take photographs of cars that have been parked illegally and the nearest sign pointing out that this is a controlled parking zone and a permit is required.

“If a sign has been tampered with a ticket would not be issued by an attendant. If a member of the public came to us with a parking ticket and a photograph showing their car and a nearby sign that had been vandalised leading them to believe they could park without a permit, we could cancel that ticket.

“If there was a general issue with signage on any given street or any given area of Oxford, we would not undertake parking enforcement until the problem had been rectified. If residents spot a sign that has been defaced, we’re always grateful to hear about it from residents.”