London, UK – 27 February 2019 - The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea revealed today that criminal gangs are robbing parking meters at a staggering cost to the council. Over the past 12 months, £120,000 was literally sucked out of machines across the borough, as organised criminals use hoovers and sledge hammers to steal cash from parking meters. 

This is the first time that a central London borough is speaking out about the cost of this type of crime. Kensington & Chelsea council is now looking at ways to encourage people to go cashless in an effort to thwart the criminals. Drivers in the borough are urged to sign up to mobile parking payment provider PayByPhone and pay for their parking through the app or over the phone instead of using coins.  

Councillor Will Pascall, Kensington and Chelsea Council lead member for streets, planning and transport, said: “It’s appalling to know that gangs are stalking the streets and robbing parking meters with such regularity. We know from police that this type of crime is funding further criminality in London, from drugs and trafficking to violent crime. It is a trend that we absolutely need to stop. Using a cashless parking payment service, such as PayByPhone, is one way that we can tackle this.”

The council currently maintains more than 1070 parking meters around the borough, but PayByPhone’s service has been available for visitors and residents since 2015 offering a mobile payment option at every location. 

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone, says: “We fully support Kensington & Chelsea’s efforts to eliminate this kind of crime in the borough. Moving away from coins and relying on a mobile parking payment service is a great way for any council to reduce this type of theft and vandalism. Cashless parking also delivers convenience to drivers, as they can start a parking session in a matter of seconds and use their phones to extend the parking from anywhere – even from their smart watch. They don’t have to worry about cutting appointments short to rush back to feed a meter."

Residents and visitors to the borough are being advised to download the PayByPhone app and register in a quick one-off process: https://m2.paybyphone.co.uk/register/account

For more information about the PayByPhone service, please visit the council’s home page: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/parking-transport-and-streets/parking/parking-borough/paybyphone

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