Car park pay machine thefts
Richard Batson A gang is breaking into ticket machines on Norfolk car parks using drills and angle grinders.The spate of break-ins has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and resulted in security measures being stepped up at pay machines.
A gang is breaking into ticket machines on Norfolk car parks using drills and angle grinders.
The spate of break-ins has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and resulted in security measures being stepped up at pay machines.
In recent weeks raids have been carried out on machines at Wells, Cromer, Sheringham, East Runton, Walsingham, Wroxham, and Norwich airport park and ride.
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In north Norfolk seven machines were damaged, to the tune of £7,000-8,000, said district council contracts and facilities manager Ricky Wright.
The amount of cash stolen was probably only hundreds of pounds, while some machines were costing £800 to repair, and one more than £3,000 to replace.
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In a bid to stop the break-ins the council was putting up notices saying the machines were emptied daily, while motion sensor lighting was being added to help CCTV cameras spot any suspicious night-time activity, and the police had been asked to step up patrols.
Despite the fact angle grinders and drills were involved, people sometimes thought the noise was the council emptying bins, he added.
There had been 40 raids on machines across north Norfolk over the past four to five years, but normally in the busier summer months.
At this time of year the machines contained less cash, but after a few quiet months there had been a spate of incidents.
They included one at Stearman's Yard, Wells, where one of the culprits may have left a valuable forensic clue by spitting on a nearby toilet window as he was running away.
In some other parts of the region criminals had lifted entire machines out of the ground, said Mr Wright, who urged anyone seeing suspicious activity around car parks to call the police.
The idea of cashless machines had been looked into by the council, but not everyone had bank cards and there was a need to have cash-operated ticketing.