Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 19:55 UK

Vandals attack thousands of London parking meters

Parking meter
Parking meters have been injected with superglue and expanding foam

Almost 90,000 parking meters have been vandalised in London in the last five years, new figures have revealed.

The statistics, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, show councils spent more than £360,000 in repairs.

Meters were destroyed with hammers, injected with superglue and removed completely by "mechanical means".

Barrie Segal, who campaigns against council-enforced parking, said motorists should not seek revenge on local authorities by illegal means.

Some 27 of the 32 London boroughs responded to the BBC Freedom of Information request.

In the borough of Lambeth more than 40,000 parking meters have been attacked over five years.

In Harrow, industrial expanding foam was injected into the coin mechanism of a meter.

Wires dangling

Every parking meter on one street in Enfield was daubed with red paint.

And in both Richmond and Croydon machines were wrenched out of the ground with wires left dangling, the latter authority blaming "mechanical means" for the destruction.

Barrie Segal, a parking expert who campaigns against the current system of parking enforcement, said: "If you think you have got an unfair ticket, it is far better to use legal means and appeal it than destroy the meter.

"I know people get frustrated, but that course of action does not help the motorist because we all end up paying for it."

He added: "I would like to say I have a wry smile hearing about that sort of destruction, but its not really on. It's better to defeat them at their own game."

Payment options

Only three boroughs, Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Brent, provided figures for the amount stolen from machines.

A total of £132,000 was taken over the period.

A London Councils spokeswoman said: "Vandalism to parking meters is an issue in London.

"Many boroughs are using different ways to tackle the problem including mobile phone parking schemes and offering drivers the option of paying for their parking using a credit card rather than cash."

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