PARKING meters have been blown up with explosives throughout Lewes in a spate of vandalism described as “unbelievably reckless”.
Fifteen attacks have been made on 14 meters over the last two months and the culprits are being warned they are putting people’s lives at risk.
The first attack was on September 16 when explosives were placed inside a machine in Grange Road, Lewes. The latest attack was recorded on Monday at White Hill.
Prior to this, several attacks were recorded on November 14 when six machines had been blown up that weekend in Southover Road, Nevill Road, Malling Street and car parks in Phoenix Causeway, Friars Walk and Cliffe High Street.
One of the machines, in Southover High Street, was almost completely destroyed and will have to be replaced. The others will be repaired or have been fixed already.
Cllr Carl Maynard, lead cabinet member for Economy, Transport and Environment on East Sussex County Council, 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.”
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. “If you have any information, please contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 394 of 04/11 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Cllr Tony Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council, 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.”
There is a £1,250 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attacks. This is being offered by East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council. Five machines were in car parks maintained by Lewes District Council.
The 14 machines that have been vandalised were located at: Grange Road, Phoenix Causeway West Car Park, Castle Precincts,
Southover Road, Court Road, Southover High Street, Phoenix Causeway East Car Park, Friars Walk Car Park, Phoenix Causeway West Car Park, Friars Walk Car Park, Southover Road, Cliffe High Street Car Park, Nevill Road, Malling Street / Thomas Street, White Hill.
Five of these machines were in car parks maintained by Lewes District Council.
No money has been stolen from the machines during the attacks.
The machines are valued at about £3,000 each.