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Nitric acid attack on parking machines

Nitric acid attack on parking machines:bill could exceed $230,000

Thirty seven Auckland City pay and display parking machines in five streets near Auckland University have been attacked with nitric acid.

Auckland City Council contractors discovered the machines early this morning. The Fire Service identified the acid and city contractors covered each machine to protect the public.

The council estimates each machine will cost up to $7000 to repair.

The city’s parking manager, Chris Geerlings, says the attack is the worst ever on city parking machines.

“The idiot who did this had no concern for public safety,” Mr Geerlings said. “We’ve moved quickly to wrap the meters to protect the public. Anyone could have touched them. If they’d then touched their eyes they could have been blinded.”

The meters are in Princes, Symonds and Alfred Streets and Grafton Road. Mr Geerlings says the attack has been reported to police. The city would also be looking at whether extra security measures could be introduced in the area. There were university precinct security patrols throughout each night. They had caught people trying to break into meters before, but this incident had gone undetected.

It would take until the end of the week to remove all the metres. They were bolted to frames and frame bolts in turn were covered in concrete. This had to removed in each case. Some spare meters would take the place of damaged ones. Some might also be moved to the area from other parts of the city. The university precinct was a high use one where parking space turnover and management achieved by the machines was essential.

The attack had been reported to police. The meters attacked were not covered by security cameras. The city would investigate whether camera coverage needed to be extended.

“It’s not a tiny prank. It’s a major cost to ratepayers and risk to safety,” Mr Geerlings said.

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