Parking metres are blown up in Lewes

Police are warning those who damage parking meters in Lewes they are putting people’s lives at risk – after two were blown up in the town in a night attack.

A pay and display machine in Phoenix Place and another in Friars Walk both had fireworks set off in the coin slots.

The first one suffered £1,000 worth of damage and the second one has about £1,900 worth of damage. They were discovered on Friday by a parking enforcement officer.

Vandals carried out 15 attacks on 14 parking meters in the town last year between September and November by placing explosives inside them and blowing them up. Similar incidents have been reported each year since 2004.

Chief Inspector Jason Tingley, Lewes district commander, said: “I find it difficult to understand why anyone would be so reckless as to carry out such potentially dangerous acts. I’m amazed that someone hasn’t been injured.

“This amounts to a serious spree of costly vandalism. We are warning the culprits that we are still 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.

“We will be stepping up patrols and I would ask the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour. If you have information, contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Cohesion or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Cllr Carl Maynard, lead cabinet member for Transport and Environment at East Sussex County Council, said: “Whoever committed these mindless crimes should know they risk jail.

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

Cllr James Page, 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 are also additional costs incurred when meters have to be replaced and revenue is lost.”

There is a £1,250 reward being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attacks.

This is being funded jointly by East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council.

Anyone with information on the latest incidents, should phone Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 0581 of 19/10.