Criminals damage own car trying to steal Woodford Green ticket machine

A group of “comical” criminals attempted to tear a parking ticket machine from the ground, but fled the scene with little more than a badly damaged vehicle.

The machine near The Castle Harvester, High Road, Woodford Green stood strong as a red Vauxhall carrying three passengers attempted to knock it over at 4.56am.

CCTV images show the car’s rear window smash and the two rear doors shunt out of position as the foolhardy driver reverses into the ticket machine operated by Loughton company Gemini Parking Solutions.

Director Ryan Jackson said: “I got a call from one of my operatives who said the machine looked like it had been the subject of an attempted break in.

“They are quite comical on the CCTV footage actually, after the car’s rear window smashes one of the guys gets out and tries to kick the machine out of the ground.

“I’m not sure why he thought his kicks would do more damage than a car.”

Mr Jackson claims the attempted theft of the machine is the second in 12 months, with a group previously trying to open the machine by force using a crowbar.

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He had recently received a warning from the one of the UK’s leading manufacturers warning that these crimes are on the rise.

But the Gemini chief believes any person who managed to open one of his machines would be thoroughly “disappointed”.

He added: “People seem to think there’s lots of money in these things and see them as an easy target.

“Looking from the outside it would be safe to say you might think they carry quite a bit of money, but they’re emptied every day.

“The amount of effort it would take to get in to one definitely wouldn’t be worth the end result.”

Ilford CID are asking anyone with any information on the incident, which happened on May 24, to contact Det Con Michael Lai on 020 8345 1626.