Asda is to fine drivers £60 if they misuse disabled and parent and child parking bays in its car parks.

The nationwide scheme starts on Monday and follows a three-month trial at stores in Liverpool which resulted in a 60% boost in the number of free parking spaces for disabled drivers and parents with young children.

The tough approach comes after a number of unsuccessful attempts by the retailer to tackle the problem through initiatives such as leafleting, loudspeaker messages and the 'Asda Baywatch' awareness-building campaign.

"We have decided to take a stand to keep specialised parking spaces available to customers who need them," said Paul Hedley, Asda's customer service manager.

A survey of its customers showed four out of five believed rolling out the scheme was the right thing to do, the retailer said, adding that all profits from the fines would go to baby charity Tommy's and Motability, a car scheme for disabled people.

The initiative comes in the wake of a row involving the Asda store in Stevenage, home town of F1 ace Lewis Hamilton.

Last September, a disabled couple objected to the store 'reserving' a prime parking space for him in case he dropped by. Blue badge-holders Adrian Emery and Sandra Batteye said they were unable to find a disabled spot and had to park "halfway up the car park" - even though Hamilton's space near the store entrance was empty.