Revealed: why some Uttlesford car park machines no longer take cash

Swan Meadow Car Park, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Swan Meadow Car Park, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto - Credit: Archant

Thieves sliced a pay and display machine off its base and stole it, to learn how to get around security features in order to steal the cash it contained.

Uttlesford District Council's meeting heard that 17 machines were targeted between April and September, each time costing cash, repairs costs, and causing missing revenue while the machine is out of action.

And now eight out of 10 car park pay and display machines have been targeted.

Councillor Susan Barker had raised urgent questions at Uttlesford District Council about why there had been changes to car parking machines in Great Dunmow.

She said some people preferred to pay for their parking with cash, rather than by mobile phone or card payments.

Responding, Cllr Richard Freeman said: "There has been extensive and repeat vandalism and theft from pay and display machines across most car parks in Uttlesford."

He said he thought the stolen parking ticket machine from Swan Meadow car park in Saffron Walden was so that thieves could learn where to "drill three holes in the right place". 

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Cllr Freeman told the meeting it cost £32,000 to repair the machines if they can get parts, they have lost revenue while the car park ticket machine was unavailable, and they lost over £6,500 in cash.

"It takes six to eight weeks to get replacement parts. It seemed to us a very good idea to start upgrading the machines."

He admitted that some parking machines no longer take cash. But he said residents did not need a smartphone to pay at cashless machines.

They could use a credit card or debit card - these payments can be touch free or the card can be inserted into the machine to pay.

The meeting heard a decision was made in 2016 for capital funds be set aside to replace machines across the district "to futureproof the ticket machines". This money had not been spent.

The trial for the new car park payment machines runs until December 15 and then it will be reviewed.

The cashless MiPermit service is available online, by text or by phone – see

Further information about parking in the district is on