Council car parks targeted by drill raiders
Blackpool Council has been targeted by raiders who have been drilling into parking machines to grab cash.
A total of 13 council machines have been attacked.The authority would not say where the machines were or how much cash was taken.But private operators have raised concerns over the problem.Howard Plant, whose car park on Coop Street was hit last weekend, wants to see the problem tackled.He is concerned how much revenue could have been lost by Blackpool Council over a busy weekend.Mr Plant said: “I was unlucky.“The machine had been broken meaning I couldn’t empty it and then I’d been away.“It’s an anomoly but there was probably Â£600 in there.“I’m not saying the council machines will have had anywhere near than much in them.“It will depend on how often they are emptied.“But we need to make sure this is stopped.”Mr Plant has already taken measures to protect his own machine, adding new steel plating to the cash box.He is hoping it will prove a deterrent to determined raiders.Mr Plant said: “They were there for nearly two hours when they took the money from my machine.“We’ve got them on CCTV but you have to be pretty determined to be there that long.“One man was a lookout while the other one drilled into the machine.“They would certainly have had a lot of change on them.”Blackpool Council said it was working with police to identify the raiders who have hit 13 machines in recent weeks.The authority declined to reveal the location of the machines which had been hit, insisting it did not want to identify potentially vulnerable equipment.A Blackpool Council Spokesperson, said: “We are aware that criminals are targeting some private and public parking meters in the region which has included a small number of meters operated by Blackpool Council. “We are liaising with the police and are taking every precaution to minimise any theft including putting additional security measures in place.”The authority operates 161 parking machines across the resort.Mr Plant suggested older machines were more vulnerable to the methods being used.He said: “It seems to be the older machines that this can happen to.“Mine has now been re-inforced with steel plates. “Hopefully the newer machines will be much harder to get into.”CCTV images from Coop Street have been offered to Lancashire Police.If you recognise either of the men in the images contact Lancashire Police on 101 quoting log number 1317 or May 15.