Bradford's "suburbs of shame" are the worst in West Yorkshire for people driving without insurance, according to alarming new figures.

A postcode breakdown of uninsured vehicles reveals that Bradford contains the four worst areas in the county.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau, which compiled the figures, estimates there are 30,500 uninsured vehicles across the Bradford district.

The BD3 area, comprising Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Thornbury, tops West York-shire's league of shame, with 4,403 uninsured vehicles, which equates to 57.3 per cent of all vehicles in that postcode area.

The BD8 area, which covers Girlington, Manningham and Lower Grange, is the second worst in West Yorkshire, with 42.7 per cent of vehicles uninsured.

The BD5 area, which takes in Little Horton and West Bowling, and BD7, including Great Horton and Lidget Green, are the third and fourth worst.

The figures have prompted Councillor Martin Smith, Bradford Council's portfolio holder for community safety, to call on the police to be more proactive in tackling the problem.

He said: "The thing that worries me is that the person on the receiving end of the accident has no recourse if the other driver is uninsured.

"It's an area where we need our forces in blue to do a bit more.

"I would urge the police to be more proactive because there are obviously a number of serious safety issues involved. I am surprised the figure is that high."

West Yorkshire Police said the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment, linked to a database of insurance companies, was the main proactive way of combating uninsured drivers.

A force spokesman said: "The use of ANPR has had a noticeable effect on the number of uninsured vehicles on the roads in West Yorkshire.

"Last year West Yorkshire Police seized 10,248 vehicles from the roads.

"ANPR is a screen fitted into a police car or van which is linked up to a database of all insurance companies and also to the police national computer.

"It monitors all passing vehicles and flags up any without insurance. These are then double-checked and the vehicle is stopped, and if no valid insurance is produced the vehicle will be seized.

"The owner of the vehicle then has seven working days to produce valid insurance, if they don't the vehicle will either be crushed or sold at auction to regain the costs."

Philip Gwynne, of West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, dubbed the worst-hit areas "the suburbs of shame."

He said: "People who drive uninsured, and therefore illegally, are more likely to be involved in crashes because they just don't care, and that's borne out by the figures.

"Most of these areas are home to unemployed, socially-excluded people of low educational attainment who have grown up with a sub-culture where they don't give a damn about being compliant.

"While the technology and the checks do exist within West Yorkshire, the police can't be out all day checking for uninsured vehicles because they have other things to do.

"It's true that the police are the enforcing authority, but the rest of society can't just look the other way and leave it to the police to sort out.

"Where are the parents and neighbours? They must have a good idea if people they know are off driving without insurance."

Mr Gwynne added that insurance companies were not entirely without blame.

"Insurance companies are aware of the number of accidents involving young drivers, so they put the premiums up. The theory is that it will price them off the roads, but it doesn't. Many of them just drive without insurance instead," said Mr Gwynne.