Parking: Intelligent meters that can phone for assistance

The new parking meters on Eastbourne's roads are some of the most secure and intelligent pay and display ticket machines in the country, East Sussex County Council announced this week.

There are 150 of the controversial machines dotted around the town centre roads and along the promenade and the council says they make Eastbourne's parking scheme one of the most secure in Britain.

The next generation machines will be equipped with mobile phone parts so they can text for help if anyone attempts to break into or damage them.

They will also be able to use their SIM cards to order servicing as soon as they malfunction and they will be able to call for their money boxes to be emptied at certain points so there is never much cash inside.

The 3,000 wireless machines, which are solar powered, will come into operation in the town when East Sussex County Council begins enforcing the new town centre controlled parking zone on Monday.

Councillor Matthew Lock, lead member for transport and environment, said, "This will be one of the most secure parking services in the country - and that will be good for the whole of Eastbourne.

"The vast majority of people would not dream of damaging or stealing from ticket machines - but the tiny minority who would are not only are committing an anti-social crime in public, they are also stealing from ordinary people, who end up paying for repairs through parking charges.

"With this system, anyone who tampers with a machine actually runs the risk of being caught in the act - and could eventually be jailed.

"We are serious about giving Eastbourne a parking system that will encourage economic growth and will make the lives of residents that little bit easier.

"So we have thought long and hard about how that scheme should work and security is a major part of that."

The machines - Alfia 300 CI models - are made of toughened stainless steel and so are almost impenetrable.

But if someone were to try to break in or damage them, sensors would pick up the crime being committed and the machine would send a text to a 24-hour control centre in Bristol and the new Parking Information Centre in Eastbourne.

Staff could then alert police immediately so it is possible the vandal or thief could be caught in the act.

There is also a CCTV system covering the scheme, which could be used to supply evidence against any offender.

A county council spokesperson this week reminded residents that a 5,000 reward is available through Crimestoppers for any information that should lead to a conviction relating to the damaging of one of East Sussex County Council's parking meters.

Also see:

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Parking: Intelligent meters that can phone for assistance

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