St Helens in Merseyside is the UK's most car-friendly town, while London is the worst spot for motorists, according to research out today.

St Helens scored well on such things as petrol prices, parking costs and the number of speed cameras in an assessment carried out by Virgin Money Car Insurance.

Telford in Shropshire - rated top for the previous two years - was in second place, with Blackburn third, Dudley in the West Midlands fourth, and Derby fifth.

London's 600 speed cameras contributed to its bottom place, a spot the UK capital has occupied for the last three years.

The next least vehicle-friendly town was Manchester, followed by Reading in Berkshire, Glasgow and Watford in Hertfordshire.

A total of 65 of the UK's largest towns and cities were assessed, with the number of car parks and the level of car crime also taken into consideration.

Grant Bather, of Virgin Money, said: "The UK's 24 million motorists are often driven to distraction by the frustrations of driving, with parking problems, petrol prices and speeding tickets among the biggest issues.

"But not all towns and cities are the same and many local authorities do their best to ensure drivers aren't treated like second-class citizens. Cars shouldn't rule the road but motorists' views need to be taken into consideration.

"Of course everyone will have their own definition of driving hell, whether it is hunting for a parking space, being stuck in a traffic jam or being caught by a speed camera. Our research attempts to show which cities and towns are best and worst for drivers."

The 10 most car-friendly towns were:

1. St Helens, Merseyside

2. Telford, Shropshire

3. Blackburn

4. Dudley, West Midlands

5. Derby

6. Ipswich

7. Sunderland

8. Eastbourne, East Sussex

9. Colchester, Essex

10. Rotherham, South Yorkshire

These were the least car-friendly towns, reading from the bottom up, with London the worst:

65. London

64. Manchester

63. Reading, Berkshire

62. Glasgow

61. Watford, Hertfordshire

60. Slough, Berkshire

59. Bournemouth

58. Leeds

57. Bristol

56. Swansea

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