More than £100,000 of taxpayers’ cash has been spent on repairing vandalised parking machines in Wycombe – prompting calls for a complete overhaul of the payment system.

A “shocking” spate of vandalism and thefts to parking machines have blighted the district over the past six months – racking up a huge bill for Wycombe District Council (WDC).

Council officials say the rise in thefts has been “completely unprecedented” – with criminals targeting machines as soon as they have been replaced.

Labour councillor for Disraeli, Khalil Ahmed, has branded the vandalism “unacceptable” however said council chiefs should have acted to solve the problem years ago.

In 2016 vandals repeatedly targeted Wycombe’s parking machines, stealing £49,000 and contributing to the cost of the district’s failed ANPR parking system.

Cllr Ahmed added cashless “disc” parking system should be introduced  – which would see drivers display what time they arrive and allow them to park for free for up to two hours.

He said: “This is simply not acceptable, the cabinet member responsible should have acted to address this issue when it was realised many years ago.

“I remember vandalism of payment machines was rife during the failed ANPR system too. A parking charge strategy review should be undertaken immediately to address this serious problem.

“On one hand WDC are employing a person at an unjustifiably huge cost to look at ways of regenerating the town, yet they fail to address the problem which could be easily solved by introducing a simple parking disc system that allows people to park up to two hours for free.

“The disc could be obtained from the council directly or local shops. The disc could be used to show the time of arrival.

“This would not only eliminate the need for cash based machines but also increase the footfall into the town. A win win for the motorist, the shop owner and the consumer.”

Leader of WDC, Katrina Wood, said the council is in the process of reviewing its future parking plans.

She said: “In the past we have had sporadic episodes of theft, but in the last six months we have seen sustained and repeated attacks on our cash payment machines.

“Some of the thefts have been breath-taking. We have seen replacement machines being targeted within days of us reinstating them.

“We have even seen cash payment machines wrenched out of the ground by being attached to cars towing them away.

“We will be looking at ways to improve the experience of customers in Wycombe District’s car parks and to protect our revenues in order to re-invest in council services.

“The car parking survey which we have just carried out will give us some useful feedback to help shape the way we provide parking in the future.”