Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:58 pm Post subject: MOTORISTS BLOW UP 13 PARKING METERS, WHAT A GOOD IDEA
|Disgruntled motorists BLOW UP fourteen parking meters in protest at charges
Attacks since mid-September have caused £20,000 of damage
Campaign began in 2004 when 200 meters were destroyed in two years
£1,250 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:29 PM on 24th November 2011
Yobs armed with explosives are blowing up parking meters in a dangerous campaign of vandalism in an 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.
It is not the first time the town - famous for its large annual Guy Fawkes night display - has been targeted.
Some of the many parking meters vandalised in Lewes, East Sussex
As soon as parking meters were introduced in 2004 the spate of vandalism began.
The local council had introduced the on-street parking charges following complaints of congestion in the county town's narrow streets.
Damaged: Police are determined to catch those responsible
In the two years that followed, the culprits caused £300,000 damage by destroying more than 200 meters.
But this only lead 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.
Another casualty: Repairs will cost the town at least £20,000
Quaint: Lewes town centre, where meters have been targeted
'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.
RIGHTMINDS: Why is Britain so harsh on motorists, yet soft on real criminals?
'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.'
Tradition: Lewes is famous for its bonfire night parade and procession (file pic)
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.
Isn't it odd? When toilets are vandalised there is no investigation or monitoring put in place and the Council closes them down. When kids run amok with bins and spread rubbish around - even threatening residents and occasionally beating them up no police action is taken and no monitoring is put in place. Yet, when parking meters are vandalised with no one threatened or injured the police leap into action. I wonder why the Council doesn't just close the meters down like they would the toilets? That wouldn't cost the Council - or the taxpayers anything.