COUNCILS are refusing to pay compensation to motorists who claim speed humps have damaged their cars because of modifications made to their vehicles.

According to records kept by the five councils covering Gwent, 35 people have made claims since 1998 but £718 has been paid out.

They say they are able to reject applications because they have evidence of motorists speeding over the humps or they have made modifications, such as lowering suspension, which make their cars more prone to damage.

In Newport there have been 14 claims since 1998, but no money has been paid out.

"Reasons for this include the vehicles have been subjected to lowering of their suspension, speed played a part or the council's thorough inspection system which responds when a defect is identified," said a council spokesman.

Although Blaenau Gwent county council has paid out the most - £617- it has been recording the number of claims since 1999 - the second-longest amount of time out of all the local authorities.

Since 2000 Monmouthshire county council has received six claims, but there has only been one payment of £102. Both Torfaen and Caerphilly rejected all claims made.

Penny Thorpe, road safety officer for Capita Symonds, said speed humps should not damage people's cars if they drive over them sensibly.

"If people travel at the speed limit of the area or less, there should be no problem whatsoever," she said.