Vandals blow up parking meters

 

Vandals armed with explosives have restarted a dangerous campaign of blowing up parking meters in a historic market town.

Fourteen machines have been attacked in Lewes, East Sussex, since mid-September, causing more than £20,000 of damage.

Police chiefs and councillors say they are amazed no one has been injured and warned whoever is responsible that they could face jail.

The town - famous for its large annual Guy Fawkes night display - has been targeted by vandals systematically blowing up meters in the past.

It started in 2004 after the local council introduced on-street parking charges following complaints of congestion in the county town's narrow streets.

In the two years that followed, the culprits caused £300,000 damage by destroying more than 200 meters, leading to higher permit charges and increased pay and display parking costs for residents and visitors.

Now it appears the dangerous and costly campaign has intensified again, with one machine - in Southover High Street - being completely destroyed.

Others will be repaired or have been fixed already. No money has been stolen from the machines, which are valued at about £3,000 each.

A reward of £1,250 has been put up by East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Chief Inspector Natalie Moloney, Lewes district policing commander, said: "I can't believe anyone would be so reckless as to carry out such potentially dangerous acts.

"I'm amazed someone hasn't been injured.

"This is a serious spree of costly vandalism and we are determined to find out who is responsible.

"Someone knows who is doing this and it is important that they help us put a stop to it now before someone gets seriously injured."

Carl Maynard, the county council's economy, transport and environment spokesman, said: "Whoever committed this mindless crime should know they risk jail.

"As well as the potential to seriously injure a passer-by, this vandalism costs the people of Lewes, who will end up footing the bill.

"Repairs will cost at least £20,000, which means we are £20,000 further away from being able to put any surplus from the scheme toward transport improvements in the town."

Lewes District Council leader Tony Nicholson said: "We fully support the police in their call for information. This vandalism is dangerous and we do not want to see anyone hurt as a result of thoughtless action."

The first new attack was on September 16 when explosives were placed inside a machine in Grange Road. The latest incident was recorded on November 21 at White Hill.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?