FOREIGN motorists have left Oxfordshire County Council chasing £358,290 in unpaid parking fines over the past four years.

Now county council leaders are investigating the most economical way of getting the money back.

It plans to talk to Portsmouth City Council, which hired Euro Parking Collection (EPC) to chase parking tickets it issued to foreign drivers, about its experiences before it decides what to do next.

Cabinet member for transport Rodney Rose said: “We are talking about hundreds of thousands of pounds and that could be used to fill in a lot of potholes in the county.

“I’m going to raise this with MEPs in the region because there needs to be cross-border legislation on this.”

London-based EPC gets keeper details from the foreign country’s Vehicle Licensing Authority (VLA) and sends letters to owners in their native language.

Spokesman Stuart Hendry said: “Not all VLAs will give keeper details, but the majority will.”

Mr Hendry said the company ran collections on a no-win, no-fee basis.

He added: “We would take about 20 per cent on each ticket, so that could come to about £70,000 if we got all the money back for Oxfordshire.”

The total of £358,290 relates to 6,441 parking tickets issued between October 2008 and last month.