More than £1m has been paid out by a Stormont department over the past three years in compensation to motorists whose cars were damaged by potholes in Northern Ireland - although an MLA has predicted this figure will soar unless roads are repaired.
In 2018/19, the Department for Infrastructure paid out £850,220.96 to drivers - more than two-and-a-half times the £319,100 handed over in 2016/17.
In total, £1,356,946.08 was paid out in the three financial years from 2016 to 2018.
Most compensation was paid out to drivers living in rural districts. However, Lisburn and Castlereagh district saw one of the most significant increases - leaping from £18,100 for the year 2017 to £115,800 during 2018/19. In Mid and East Antrim, the compensation paid during 2017/18 was £14,600 which rose to £76,000 the following year.
Motorists in neighbouring Mid Ulster were compensated to the tune of £21,000 for 2017/18 - but, again, this figure climbed to £100,700 the following year.
Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton said he believes the amount the Department is paying out in compensation could be even greater if more drivers knew they could submit a claim for damage caused by potholes.
He said: "This money is money paid out of the public purse that should be invested into repairing potholes. The significant rise in the amount paid out from 2017/18 to 2018/19 is due, I suspect, to more and more drivers becoming aware they are entitled to compensation but also to the ever increasing state of disrepair our roads are in."