MOTORISTS were fined more than £14,000 in just 12 hours up after hundreds were caught driving through a controversial bus gate.

Drivers were snared following the introduction of a bus gate near George Square, installed to cut traffic in the historic square.

Spy cameras snapped motorists ignoring the car ban and driving through the gate.

The car ban came into effect on Monday and in the first 12 hours 474 rogue drivers were caught on camera. That's potentially worth £14,220 in fines to council bosses if the penalties are all paid within the next two weeks.

Dozens of other motorists are thought to have since been caught after ignoring the bus gate, which has been installed at the junction of Nelson Mandela Place and West Nile Street.

Only buses, taxis, private cabs and cyclists are exempt from the ban, which was introduced by councillors in a bid to crack down on traffic congestion, boost air quality and cut accidents.

Up to 800 buses use the junction every weekday and the car ban aims to help improve the reliability of bus services.

The controversial gate, along with warning signs and lights, was set up last month but road chiefs decided to delay the ban to give motorists time to find alternative routes.

A council spokesman said: "The bus gate at Nelson Mandela Place has now been in place for three weeks. To allow people to get used to the new restrictions and plan their journeys, we haven't issued any penalty charge notices."

But the ban came into force this week.

A council spokesman warned: "We're now enforcing any contraventions of the bus gate between 7am-7pm, and drivers breaking the law will be fined.

"There are very clear and constant reminders of the law in the form of signage and road markings at, and on the approaches to, the bus gate.

"Bus lane and gate enforcement in the city is improving the flow of traffic on congested stretches as well as improving the reliability of bus journeys.

"By improving the public transport network we're working to encourage people to use more environmental forms of transport and reduce Glasgow's CO2 emissions."

Motorists caught on camera run the risk of a £60 penalty, which is halved if the fine is paid within 14 days. Council chiefs hope to cut the number vehicles in the city centre by 70%. Around 1250 drivers used the junction every day prior to the introduction of the ban.