Norwich police have escalated their crackdown on drivers using the pedestrianised Exchange Street illegally.

Officers stopped six cars using the road between 10am and 4pm last Friday when it is closed to all motorised traffic, with those drivers even manoeuvring around a plastic barrier at its entrance to get through.

It comes after a litany of arguments, shunts and even flying walking sticks for three years over whether the street should be used by cars.

Police say the drivers were given Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) which will be dealt with by the central ticket office.

The TORs could leave the drivers with a fine, thought to be between £50 and £100, a notice of prosecution and in some extreme cases could see their cars seized.

Norwich Evening News: An officer speaks to a driver in Exchange StreetAn officer speaks to a driver in Exchange Street (Image: Norfolk police)

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While the warning of a fine has been looming over lawbreakers since restrictions were introduced in the road in the summer of 2020, officers have been hesitant to use their powers keeping them as a last resort.

Campaigners and shopkeepers nearby say a long-awaited increase in police action has dramatically improved the situation in the street.

Ex-cabbie Chris Cooper, who owns Tolar Jewellery in the street, and has previously spoken out against those "dangerously" using the road said things were looking up.

Norwich Evening News: Ex-cabbie Chris Cooper who runs Tolar Jewellery Ex-cabbie Chris Cooper who runs Tolar Jewellery (Image: Newsquest)

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He said: "It's excellent to hear they're fining people for it properly now.

"We've seen a big improvement on the street over the last couple of weeks since they've started and the barrier has gone back up.

"The biggest problem now is motorbikes rather than cars they go down there at about 60mph and seem to get away with it.

Norwich Evening News: Exchange Street which is sometimes patrolled by a security guardExchange Street which is sometimes patrolled by a security guard (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest)

"But it's nowhere near as bad as before in fact I'd say it's 100 times better. Mind you as I say that a lorry has just gone down there.

"To be honest I think it's fair enough for businesses to use the street, they should be allowed."

Activist Lucy Hall, 66, who has battled against drivers since she blocked the road as a human bollard last year, said she felt enforcement was the only way to bring about change.

Norwich Evening News: Activist Lucy Hall blocks Exchange Street in 2022Activist Lucy Hall blocks Exchange Street in 2022 (Image: Newsquest)

She said: "I think this is the only way to stop the lawbreakers.

"When I've gone past I haven't seen as many motor vehicles recently, bit by bit things are getting better so I think we're getting to a place where it will stay pedestrianised.

"I think it's a case of one person does it and a load of other drivers follow them, so once that stops I think we'll have solved it."

Norfolk police have been contacted for comment.