DRIVERS who misuse 'blue badge' disabled spaces could be fined £1,000 by undercover council officials.

A proposal to grant local authorities greater covert surveillance powers has been introduced at the Scottish Parliament.

Under new rules, councils will be able to place non-uniformed employees in car parks to catch motorists who abuse disabled parking laws.

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If caught, drivers could be hit with a large fee or even incur points on their licence.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson introduced the Disabled Persons' Parking Charges (Scotland) Bill to help councils crack down on regular offenders.

It has been backed by Transport Minister Keith Brown who argued the new powers would only be employed to tackle 'widespread, organised, or persistent' misuse.

He said: "It will be important that non-uniformed officers carry identification and are trained in the role."

However, the prospect of handing councils more powers to spy on members of the public has been castigated by campaigners.

Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch group, said: "Undercover surveillance is not something councils should be doing lightly and these powers should only ever be used for serious crimes.

"The Scottish Government should focus on sorting out those problems rather than trying to create even more snooping powers to use and almost certainly abuse."