MORE than £1,600 has been stolen from pay- and-display parking machines across Oxford in the past five years.
Since 2009 there have been 17 attempts to break into machines, and five of those were successful, with thieves getting away with £1,677.90 in total.
A machine containing £153.40 was stolen from Great Clarendon Street in June 2009; thieves took £970 from a machine in Keble Road in October 2010; £22.60 was stolen from one in Crick Road in March 2012 and the next month saw £400 taken from one in Savile Road.
In most cases, vandals attempted to gain access to the machines by tampering with the locks, and Oxfordshire County Council, which controls all on-street parking meters, replaced them or repaired all damage caused.
The year 2012 was the worst for the problem, with seven of the attempts – or 41 per cent – taking place in that year.
However, since then, the rate has dropped dramat- ically.
There was only one attempt in Blackhall Road in March last year, and none so far in 2014.
There are 112 pay-and-display machines across the city, meaning just 15 per cent of them were targeted.
The data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request to the council, showed that all 17 incidents were reported to the police.
But the council said it was not aware of any action taken by Thames Valley Police.
In June the Oxford Mail revealed that Oxfordshire County Council collected £17,670 from the machines through overpayments in the same time period.
The machines do not take 5p, 2p or 1p coins, and some do not accept 20p pieces and the newer 10p coins.
County councillor David Nimmo Smith, the cabinet member for transport, said people were expected to have the correct change.
He said: “We don’t budget for a profit but we need the money to plough back into the roads and car parks.”
Streets with parking meters include Broad Street and Mansfield Road in Oxford, which charge £2.50 an hour.
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