MUMS say they have become prisoners in their own homes as a result of school staff stealing their parking spaces.

Working mums Danielle Rasor and Michelle King say on their days off, they dare not leave their homes in the car with their children because their spots will be stolen by other motorists.

The pair, who live in Halstead Road, Lexden, say the main culprits are staff who work at neighbouring Lexden Springs School, though they have also named Aldi shoppers and Natwest bank customers.

There are no parking restrictions in the street but residents are pushing for parking permits to be introduced between 8am and 6pm on weekdays in both Halstead Road and nearby King Coel Road.

However those plans have been caught up in red tape.

Mum-of-one Mrs Rasor, 28, said: "I suppose people will find it hard to believe just how much it impacts on our lives.

"It's like being a prisoner. You dare not go out of the house and come back before 3pm because you just will not get a parking space near to your house.

"If you're coming back with your child you've got so much to bring with you and parking more than 100 metres away, which is sometimes the case, just isn't easy.

"If it doesn't change it will actually make us have to move away - that's how strongly we feel about it."

If the mums do arrive home before 3pm, Mrs Rasor says they often drive around the area in circles in a bid to spot someone leaving a space or stay out until after 3pm.

Mrs Rasor says relations between residents and school staff have become "strained". The residents are not complaining about parents of children attending the special needs school.

In the application submitted to request a permit parking scheme, residents state: "Residents in this area are suffering severely with limitations on already tight parking due to local businesses using the road for their staff to park for long periods.

"The main offender in this is the Lexden Springs School.

"Other complaints residents have made relate to customers of the Natwest bank, Aldi supermarket and visitors to the Kingsland Church and Safari Nursery."

The application also says drivers are using the road to park in before boarding a bus to Colchester town centre.

A spokesman for Lexden Springs school said: "We always ask our staff to park respectfully and considerately to the local residents.

"We asked them to try not to park outside the houses which do not have driveways.

"We want to work with the local community and we know highways officers have been here to look at the situation both on issues raised by residents and by the school."