Almost six and a half million private parking tickets could be handed to drivers in just 12 months, new figures suggest.

Some 1.48 million vehicle keeper records were requested by private parking firms in the first quarter of the 2018/19 tax year, according to RAC Foundation analysis of Government data.

This is a 14% year-on-year increase, and if the trajectory continues, an estimated 6.44 million parking tickets will be issued by private parking companies in 2018/19.

Firms that are members of the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community can obtain records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to chase vehicle owners for alleged infringements in private car parks such as at shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas.

A total of 5.65 million vehicle keeper records were obtained from the DVLA by private parking companies during the last tax year – this figure has risen steadily from 272,000 in 2006/07.

See our Fight Unfair Private Parking Tickets guide for help if you get a ticket.

What should I do if I get a private parking ticket?

If you get an unfair ticket in a private car park, DON'T automatically pay it. These supposed 'fines' handed out are merely invoices, often unenforceable.

There are three very different routes to fight unfair tickets, and the best route for you is likely to depend on whether the company that issued the ticket is part of a trade body and how militant you want to be. See How to fight private parking tickets for full info.

What does the RAC Foundation say?

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: "Motorists might well be asking what is going on when the number of records being sought by private parking companies has shot up yet again.

"Numbers like these suggest that something, somewhere, is going wrong."