CHILDREN could be killed if parents continue to park outside schools, police have warned.
The stark message comes from officers who have received reports of drivers flouting parking laws at peak school times in Cheltenham. There are fears parked vehicles could obstruct children's views as they are trying to cross the road – risking them being run down.
Issues at Berkhampstead School in Pittville sparked the warning, but a police spokeswoman said it was a problem across the borough.
Sergeant Mark Stephens said: "Police are aware of the parking problems at this school and virtually every other school.
"It is always a sensitive issue to address because, most often, the hazards caused by this inconsiderate parking are a consequence of parents delivering and collecting their children from school premises.
"Therefore, if parents were prepared to park more responsibly, the danger to their children and inconvenience to the community would be significantly reduced."
The warning issued by police said: "Currently cars are parking on double yellow lines, on zigzags and in front of drop-curbs.
"Not only can you incur a fine for this offence, but your parking could be a danger to a small child who is crossing the road. If cars are obstructing the roads and junctions near to the school, then children have less chance of seeing moving vehicles. This in turn could cause an accident and result in the injury, or in serious cases, death of a child.
"As parents are at the school to pick up their own children, we urge them to think about how they are driving and where they are parking, as one of those children injured could easily be their own."
Officers will be patrolling around schools in both the morning and evening to crack down on people parking illegally. Parents are encouraged to car-share or walk their children to school.
Charlotte Blanch, headteacher at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, in Hester's Way, said parking was a problem at many schools, adding: "It's not as much of a problem here but we have just had a safety crossing with a lollipop man put in place to help the children cross the road.
"I think it's good the police are warning people about this."