Council bosses have refused to back down on their campaign to target bus lane “bandits” despite growing anger over restrictions along Bolton Road in Bury.

Dozens of irate motorists have been hit with fines, saying they are forced to use the bus lane during restricted hours due to the sheer volume of traffic.

They have also taken issue with the layout and design of the system towards the bottom end of the road.

Drivers turning into Bolton Road from Belbeck Street claim they are unable to avoid driving in the bus lane due to rush-hour congestion.

In a letter to the Bury Times, Mr Kieran Smith, who was booked twice, complained: “I definitely know about the bus lane opposite Tesco Express and know it finishes just before St Stephen’s Church. However, some boffin at the Town Hall has decided to stagger it so that there is a 20 metre-long bus lane just after the church and one just after the Derby Arms that finishes just before National Tyres, also around 20 metres long.

“The first offence was where I turned left out of Belbeck Street, where I live, during rush hour and could not get across to the far lane without causing an accident. So, I had to drive in this 20 metre-long bus lane.

“The second time was a little further along at the traffic lights outside the Derby Arms in Bolton Road. As soon as you drive through the lights, you are required to veer right or, at your own peril, drive in the bus lane for another 20 metres and at the last minute, four metres before the next set of traffic lights where the bus lane ends in front of National Tyres, come back across into the left hand lane.”

Mrs Jacqueline Rigby and her partner, Mr Kevin O’Donnell, have both been fined for using the bus lane in the same location.

Mrs Rigby said: “I had just been for petrol at the station next to the Derby Arms. I was going to B&Q and I turned left. If I’d been in the other lane, it would have made it impossible to cross to the left as traffic in the bus lane is dangerous at the bottom near the Derby Arms. I will now avoid using Bolton Road.”

She added her partner was also going to use a different route to work.

Bury Council have defended their action and say that since enforcement began, abuse of the borough’s bus lanes has been greatly reduced.

A spokesman said: “Ainsworth Road is a signal controlled junction without opposing traffic so there is no excuse for traffic encroaching into the bus lane. If there is a backlog of traffic, drivers must wait their turn as is the case with any other set of traffic lights.

“In relation to Belbeck Street or any other side road where left-turning traffic is merging with traffic on the main road, drivers must wait until there is sufficient gap in the traffic flow to join. The bus lane should not be used as a merge lane during its hours of operation.

“Any vehicles turning left off Bolton Road must wait until the gap is there to allow this movement as would be the case if there was no bus lane.

“Bury Council will not waive fines for unauthorised use of a bus lane. All drivers must make sure they comply with the highway restrictions that are in place. Bus lanes are there to keep buses to schedule and encourage commuters to use public transport, thereby reducing congestion and carbon emissions.”

• Anyone caught breaking the law could be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £60, discounted to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Bury’s bus lanes are in force from Monday to Friday, 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm, on three sections of Bolton Road, and along Rochdale Road. The bus lane in Manchester Road, alongside Manchester Road park, is in operation from 7am to 7pm .