DRIVERS have been warned 'stop means stop' after a 'worrying' increase in near misses involving school children.

School crossing patrol (SCP) staff who help youngsters cross the road have reported a rise in incidents over the last few months.

Every day thousands of youngsters in Worcestershire are helped safely across roads on their way to school by crossing patrols operating on around 100 sites.

Posters, which show the 'Four Pole' positions detailed in the Highway Code, are on display at sites that have experienced 'failure to stop' incidents.

The four pole positions are: position one (sign upside down) – SCP not ready to cross pedestrians, position two (sign sideways) - a barrier to stop pedestrians, position three (sign held up high and angled into the road) – SCP ready to cross pedestrians which means all vehicles must be prepared to stop and position four (extended out) – vehicles must stop and remain stationary until the patrol returns to the pavement.

Drivers who flout the rules risk three points on their driving licence, a fine of up to £1,000 and a driving ban.

Cllr John Smith, Worcestershire County Council's cabinet member for Highways, said: "It's difficult to understand why people take such risks and break the law by failing to stop when our school crossing patrols signal to do so. Thankfully, the vast majority of motorists respect the job these dedicated people carry out within their communities but, unfortunately, there are still irresponsible drivers out there putting others and themselves in danger.

"The message is clear. Stop means Stop. There is just no point in taking risks for the sake of a few seconds."