back to article I say, that sucks! Crooks are harnessing hoovers to clean out parking meters in Chelsea

The Toff-tastic West London borough of Kensington and Chelsea has recommended that Hugo and Caggie stop paying to park their Bentleys with cash – because hoover-hauling hoodlums are sucking coins out of the meters. The local authority told the BBC that £120,000 has been slurped from the machines over the last year alone, and …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Police are looking for a short, rotund man, believed to go by the name of Henry, to assist them with their enquiries

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      That joke sucked...

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        That one's so old, it's started to gather dust...

      2. M.V. Lipvig
        Happy

        One person didn't see what you did there.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    > "We also now know from local police that this is funding further criminality in London, from drugs and trafficking to possibly violent crime,"

    Am I missing something? I'd have assumed that the only reason to deal drugs and traffic women is to make money. How is it that they require subsidising?

    This has got hints of Fox News reporting that Movie Piracy Funds Al Qaeda!

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Perhaps it's a criminal socialism ( feel free to make the joke you're thinking of here, I'm not going to ).

      Peddling drugs isn't profitable so they subsidise it with petty theft in order to keep the black market employment figures inflated.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Well now there is no video piracy they need other forms of income.

        Remember how free torrent sites funded drug smuggling and human trafficking ?

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Trickle down economy?

        As in that odd sensation as a stream of cold, hard cash runs down your trouser leg from a hole in your pocket.

        As for funding criminality, people seem to be missing that users need cash to buy drugs, or time with a hooker. Which then means an economist could calculate relative values, ie cost of parking vs other activities.. and possibly expand on the social cost. So a hooker @ £4/hr may result in additional costs to the NHS.

        Meanwhile, Kensington's residents may object to a cashless audit trail. Rather awkward if statements show parking charges from a quick visit to one's mistress, or master. And high class divorces can be soo expensive. For councils though, I guess it'd be a lot cheaper if meters were just replaced with numbered bays, and an app to rent bays (bays! Bays I said!) and allow the meter maids to check licence plates against rentals.

        1. gerdesj Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Trickle down economy?

          "So a hooker @ £4/hr"

          Which century are you currently inhabiting?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Trickle down economy?

            It reminds me of an old song. I don't quite remember all of it but it was about this chap named Gilligan and his Skipper who go down on a three dollar whore.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Trickle down economy?

            The one where they give in to inevitability and issue a new pound that is worth 1 million of the old ones.

          3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Trickle down economy?

            Which century are you currently inhabiting?

            Ah, well, I admit I have very little first-hand knowledge of that sector of our economy. However, somewhere in the HMG bit bucket is a fascinating report. Can't remember if that was from ONS or NAO, but..

            Countries where drugs and hookers are legal objected to revenues from those being included in their economy, and thus tithe to the EU overlords.. Who are probably more familiar given Belgium has legalised brothels (I think). So the UK had to estimate revenues from those activities so their revenue could be included in our tithe. Which presumably lead to an official market review and some civil servants working out an official hourly rate.

            And now I'm wondering if nicking cash from meters could result in double counting, ie revenue to councils and revenues from hookers & blow. Luckily I'm not an accountant..

            1. harmjschoonhoven

              Re: Trickle down economy?

              @Jellied Eel, In the Netherlands prostitution is legalized (and taxed). According to the Central Bureau of Statistics prostitution added an estimated 520 million Euros to the Dutch economy in 2014. The document stipulates that EU rules require that all illegal activities are tallied in economic statistics.

              BTW The linked PDF is in Dutch, but the translation is easy: cannabis=cannabis, prostitutie=prostitution, pooier=pimp.

          4. Fungus Bob Silver badge

            Re: Trickle down economy?

            Cheap hookers are best - you can afford more of them.

            1. Mephistro Silver badge
              Angel

              Re: Trickle down economy?

              "The Eternal Question: A $20 hooker or 20 $1 hookers?"

              Bender Bending Rodriguez.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Trickle down economy?

              "Cheap hookers are best - you can afford more of them."

              Generally you need a first 5/8, a fullback and a couple of halfbacks too though.

        2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Trickle down economy?

          "a hooker @ £4/hr"

          If I met a hooker who charged just £4/hr, I wouldn't even touch her with my bargepole.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Trickle down economy?

            I wouldn't touch her with *your* bargepole.

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Trickle down economy?

          Meanwhile, Kensington's residents may object to a cashless audit trail. Rather awkward if statements show parking charges from a quick visit to one's mistress, or master.

          To that end one keeps multiple bank accounts, multiple agendas as well as multiple bookkeepers. Savings can be made by having said bookkeepers double as mistresses/masters (as applicable)

          (the one with the hidden pockets with the hidden agendas in them, thanks)

        4. M.V. Lipvig

          Re: Trickle down economy?

          So you're recommending a trackable app to replace a trackable meter payment?

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        "Peddling drugs isn't profitable"

        In that case you're doing it wrong. Remember, buy low, sell high(s).

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          That's where the socialism comes in. State ran drug dealers charging more, delivering less and still making a loss.

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Joke

      Clearly the solution is for honest, upright citizens to rob the meters first, and deny funding to the paedodruggierists. Or, even worse, the local council.

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      It's a Brexit thing

      Drug dealers and ladies of the night need coins to make change for customers, who don't give decent tips any more.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wierd

    "We also now know from local police that this is funding further criminality in London, from drugs and trafficking to possibly violent crime,"

    Times must be getting tough when the criminals need to suck coins out of meters in order negate the losses they are generating from their drug dealing and trafficking operations.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Just wierd

      Couldn't they apply for some sort of grant ?

      If you paid drug dealers who didn't actually have any drugs 10M quid to ensure the supply of drugs in the event of Brexit, then they wouldn't have to rob meters - and there would still be no actual drugs delivered.

      In fact if you gave Crapita the job of supplying free drugs to everyone you could solve the "drugs problems" overnight

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Just wierd

        The recreational drug version of the CAP ?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Just wierd

          Well they do subsidise tobacco farmers

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Just wierd

            Well they do subsidise tobacco

            You have tobacco farms in Blighty?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Just wierd

              >You have tobacco farms in Blighty?

              It's not easy, that;s why they need CAP subsidies

              (Having finally stopped subsidies for German,Spanish and Italian tobacco farms, all the new eastern european members demanded them for their cancer generators)

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Just wierd

          Cap and trade may be a way to boost the economy in the UK's North. Which could boost the cloth and milner industry, but may lead to a shortage of whippets.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Just wierd

      Aspiring pharmaceutical (recreational) entrepreneurs need to get their startup capital from somewhere

  4. Starace

    Useless crime enforcement

    So we have gangs driving around doing really obvious violent (and not particularly quick to commit) crimes in the heavily camera covered heart of London and no-one has managed to stop them or track them down?

    Have they just given up on the hard stuff and just switched to dealing with hurty words on Twitter?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Useless crime enforcement

      If you are in trouble in London and need a rapid response... phone for a pizza.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Useless crime enforcement

        Then jam the pizza up the crooks' exhaust pipe before they can drive off with the loot. A parking warden will be along in a few seconds to fine them, and those guys don't take shit from anyone.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Useless crime enforcement

        My doctor says pizza is clogging my arteries so I would imagine it would make a great blood clotting bandage AND arrive two days before the medics.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Useless crime enforcement

      CCTV has several major problems.

      - You can't watch every camera 24 hours a day without there being a person there watching each one 24 hours a day.

      - If you happen to see a crime in progress (which may take you several minutes to realise even in the obvious cases), actually doing anything about it is several more minutes away.

      - If you have historical footage of a crime... great. Now what? "He was a short man in a hoodie". In London. Good luck tracing that guy without thousands of cameras all over every road in London (which, despite US media propaganda, we just don't have)

      Working in IT for schools means that I'm responsible for the CCTV on large sites - 50+ cameras on many of them.

      Allow me to summarise the numbers:

      Percentage of incidents actually in progress that we witnessed live: 0%

      Percentage of crimes that occurred where we could see anything on the CCTV: 1%

      Percentage of crimes that we had footage of, but in which not one identifying feature was present: 99.9%

      Percentage of crimes that we had full HD footage, showing faces, of which resulted in any convictions whatsoever: 0%.

      In fact, over the last 20 years let me summarise every "success" of the CCTV:

      A "kid" (18yo) started a fight in a corridor with another pupil. A supply teacher, who hadn't worked in the school before, stepped in and gently pushed - with the palm of his hand - the kid who had started the fight back against the corridor wall (no injury, nothing fast or hard, just a literal "Hey, hey, hey... no.."). The parents complained. He was struck off the teaching register while police investigated an allegation of assault against him.

      It's the one, single, solitary time when I've had to provide actual evidence via the CCTV.

      Now consider that my systems have "caught" three burglaries, multiple intruders, deliberate vandalism of fire doors which could have endangered life (by a disgruntled local man running for councillor, no less), and all kinds of assaults, breakages, thefts, etc. on camera.

      Then multiply those percentages above to work out what else *did* go on but we didn't actually have *anything at all* from the CCTV.

      CCTV is there for monitoring and peace of mind. I can see my house from work. I'm the only person who actually cares if my house is broken into. The neighbours will complain loudly about any alarm going off, while simultaneously ignoring it, so they are pointless. But with CCTV I can *see* if someone's jumping / jumped my fence and report a crime in progress. Despite being in control of dozens of cameras for work... I can't just sit and watch them all day. And even if we pull up an incident it usually contains nothing of interest at all (everything from "so-and-so pushed me in the playground" to "what time did John go home" to "we heard noises outside last night").

      Don't expect cameras to do *anything* at all. They are defeated by the simple precept of "wear generic plain-coloured clothing, preferably a hoodie to cover your face". And, in fact, most of the time you can commit a crime right in view of a camera perfectly well without getting anything worthy of evidence at all (e.g. supermarket thefts - how do you think a camera high up can tell if one person put an extra bit of cheese in their bag in the middle of a crowded superstore?).

      1. A. Coatsworth
        Unhappy

        Re: Useless crime enforcement

        The answer is the clear as day: if hoodies defeat the surveillance, simply ban hoodies! That way everybody's faces will be caught on camera.

        How I *wish* I could put the Joke icon here... but that is precisely the train of thought of the "think of the children" brigade and many lawmakers...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Useless crime enforcement

          France tried that with headscarves....look at the PC brigade in the UK and try

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Useless crime enforcement

        "It's the one, single, solitary time when I've had to provide actual evidence via the CCTV."

        I was doing a job in a school a little while ago and the CCTV monitor was drawing green boxes around any faces it detected on the camera feed. Not sure if it then went on to make an attempt at facial recognition, but I was quite shocked that they were even going this far. At no stage on entering the school or signing in as a contractor was I informed there was CCTV surveillance and possible face recognition going on. But they did require that I prove my DBS clearance existed, even though the rules don't require I even have DBS clearance unless I'm going to be left alone with the kids on a "frequent basis", ie at least twice in two weeks.

      3. M.V. Lipvig

        Re: Useless crime enforcement

        What I gather from your rather long post is, London's council is wasting a crapton of taxpayer money on cameras.

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Useless crime enforcement

        "how do you think a camera high up can tell if ....."

        Whilst they're dodgng the obvious one up high they completely miss the less obvious ones peering out at shelf level.

        It works wonders on my installations.

  5. Andytug

    On the other hand, if you see someone dragging a Hooray Henry....

    it's probably just a normal Saturday night.....

  6. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    "We also now know from local police that this is funding further criminality in London, from drugs and trafficking to possibly violent crime," Pascall added.

    How, pray tell, could this possibly be related to trafficking.

    Perhaps, I suppose, the crims will celebrate by purchasing some recreational drugs.

    "National lottery funding Champagne and cocaine industries, campaigners warn".

    ( Ok, I made that last one up )

    1. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
      Holmes

      Re: How, pray tell, could this possibly be related to trafficking.

      The traffickers need coins to pay their own parking costs. Same with the dealers and pimps.

      Obvious, innit.

  7. Fredrick Smith

    Missing

    They missed out "funding terrorism".

  8. Locky Silver badge

    Parking meters are taken to the cleaners

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most likely political

    I do support a parking enforcement team, and I have to admit that some of the things that criminals have done to get the cash out of machines, is truly awe inspiring. And we have the armoured cash boxes with the mobile phone alerting systems... the whole nine yards.

    Having said that, I personally peg this as more likely a push by the council to get people onto cashless parking to save themselves a small fortune in parking meters and the associated costs of handling cash.

    And having said THAT... I am living up to my promise to Brighton, never to go there again after their parking team and their electronic parking system, combined with their screwy line painting, robbed me blind. I ended up paying for the parking AND a fine. Now I don't spend any money in Brighton shops.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Most likely political

      You could always go to Manchester. They just screw you over via the bus lanes.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Most likely political

      Not to mention they won't need to pay people to service the machines. Kensington and Chelsea don't like paying people to do things.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Most likely political

        >Kensington and Chelsea don't like paying people to do things.

        Don't worry, once we are free from Eu interference the royal boroughs can reintroduce slavery

        Serfs might look untidy but they are a cost effective way of getting the manual labour done.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Most likely political

          "Don't worry, once we are free from Eu interference the royal boroughs can reintroduce slavery"

          Excellent. SO that means affordable (ie free, since you don't pay slaves but do need to house and feed them) housing near the job for the proles?

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Most likely political

      "Having said that, I personally peg this as more likely a push by the council to get people onto cashless parking to save themselves a small fortune in parking meters and the associated costs of handling cash."

      Business expense claims require receipts. Daily parking charges all over the place for some of can add up quite significantly. I avoid "cashless" parking fees as much as humanly possible because it *always* generates queries on every monthly claim. If, instead of requiring registration with a credit/debit card they could just charge it to the phone account or by a "premium" text message on my company mobile phone, then I'd be happy to use them.

  10. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    "It is a trend we need to stop and motorists going cashless is one way we can help tackle this."

    If the parking machines in K&C are anything like the ones I've tried to use without cash, then you'll be stuck callng an automated number going through a crappy menu system before having to punch in your 12 digit card number, expiry date and CVC on your phone's keypad while still trying to hear what the automated voice is saying, in the rain, to pay £5 for parking, plus the extra 50p 'convenience fee' they scam out of you on top, then run to wherever you're trying to be because you've spent 20 minutes doing something that should have taken 20 seconds if you'd had the right change handy, whilst at the same time havng to remember to text your registration number in the correct format to some random number so you don't come back to a ticket.

    I'm not sure why they can't just make the bloody things have working card readers on them, or $deity forbid, be contactless.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      ...contactless, of course, assumes that they're going to be charging you less than £30...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Most people want to park for longer than 1/2 hour.

    2. Valerion

      In the London borough where I live, the meters have NO card payment OR pay-by-phone or pay-by-app. If you want to park, you'd better have the right combination of correct-shaped pieces of metal in your pocket to pay for it. In 2019.

      Mind you this same borough wants to solve the problem of too many cars needing to park by taking away parking spaces.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @Valerion: Well, if they eliminate all the spaces, they solve the method-of-payment issue as well.

        For some definition of "solve"

    3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Flame

      NCP

      I've twice recently had the unfortunate pleasure of trying to deal with NCP parking machines. These machines do have card readers (both chip & contactless)

      On both occasions, it took me over 10 minutes to pay for my parking because the machines are so badly designed.

      It never ceases to amaze me how companies can produce such bad IT that's intended for the general public to use.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: NCP

        "On both occasions, it took me over 10 minutes to pay for my parking because the machines are so badly designed."

        ...and always seem to mange to hide the button to request a receipt in the system so well and that you need to know to press it before you start to make payment or you won't get one.

    4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Perhaps your problem is related to the 12 digit card number. Most credit cards have 16 digits.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re 16 digits

        my card may well have 16 digits on it but that design guru (or utter fucking bastard (the one that designed the plastic tag for opening your packet of bacon that never ever works)) decided you'd really like a credit card with a pattern in shiny on it so no matter where the light is you can only ever read 12 of the digits accurately! 4 on mine are under the hologram so change randomly.

        Makes me so angry I could lisp.

        1. CraPo

          Re:Hologram

          The 90s called and want their credit cards back. And my AMEX is 15 digits :-P

          1. Persona

            Re: Re:Hologram

            Technically your AMEX is a "travel and entertainment" card and not a credit card, hence the different number format.

    5. CraPo

      "In the rain"

      If only you had a metal box you could shelter in whilst making the payment. Perhaps one with a comfy seat, perhaps some heating and maybe even some entertainment, music perhaps, whilst you completed your payment?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Had a thought....

      1. Record all menus on auto parking call system adn add to your own system.

      2. Make stickers that look identical to existing ones on parking meters.

      3. ???

      4. Profit!

    7. Toni the terrible

      Queen Alexandra Hospital (Cosham) Car Parks have multiple ways to pay - including contactless card readers - so not too difficult

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    1) Cash in an unattended box is just asking for trouble. (I'm still amazed that I went into a car park up in Scotland where the payment was "put some coins in this jar", and a jar full of coins just brimming over was just sitting there unsupervised).

    2) If you don't want to deal in cash, give us a way to pay by card.

    3) No... paying by card should NOT involve signing up for your account, talking to human operators, reading out your credit card details in full view of a car park, getting spam email, and having to sign up for a different service for almost every car park, borough, council, system, service, etc. etc. etc. I should be able to bonk / PIN and walk off with a ticket.

    4) If you don't *want* to do that (For card fraud? Then make them put in their reg-number... either they end up paying for a ticket that isn't valid for their car and caught by your normal processes, or you know what car registration used a stolen card).

    It's a REALLY simple system that I can't understand quite why it's so complicated, and I avoid anything that isn't just "park, pay, go". In Falmouth once, a few years ago, I signed up to three different services and abandoned each and *literally* moved my car to the next car park each time. Don't even get me started when it wouldn't let me register using a card "because that card was already tied to another vehicle"... because I'd used it on a one-off elsewhere several years ago and several hundred miles away, and there was no way to change it.

    If trains can do it. Shops can do it. My own workplace can do it. HELL! *I* can do it (I have an iZettle in my bag). Then for damn sure, paying for a ticket in a car park should be as simple. And I am likely NEVER going to want to sign up to an account to do so.

    Even the whole "this is the code you need for this car park" is a crock... I don't care about that. I just want to tap on THE BOX THAT IS HERE and be done.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Facepalm

      If Big Issue sellers can now take cards then how hard can it be for Councils to sort out simple payments.

      (Yes, some Big Issue sellers now take card payments).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Very hard!

        If Big Issue sellers can now take cards then how hard can it be for Councils to sort out simple payments.

        If you think your council employs anyone with even half the brains of a Big Issue seller, you should nominate them for some kind of award. Mine certainly doesn't. And I doubt the entire NCP IT team has more than 3 brain cells between them either.

    2. defiler Silver badge

      To be fair, we're more trustworthy in Scotland than in Kensington & Chelsea. Even in Edinburgh and Glasgow!

      Besides which, Edinburgh Council's parking fine payment is remarkably streamlined. Clearly they want that fat cash fast! It's easier to pay the fine than pay the parking. Except for the size of payment...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One of the apps I use for parking in the Greater Paris Area just asks for the post code where I'm parking and for how long I want to park. That's all. I only have one car so the app skips the 'which of your registered cars is this for?' bit. 10 minutes before my time is up I'm asked if I want to extend my parking time.

    4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Plus: get rid of the "how long are you parking for?" insanity. I DON'T KNOW!!!! I'll known when I *get* *back*.

    5. Spamfast Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      I'm still amazed that I went into a car park up in Scotland where the payment was "put some coins in this jar", and a jar full of coins just brimming over was just sitting there unsupervised

      The honour payment system is widely used in Denmark & Germany too. Farm produce at the side of the road, unlocked drinks fridges in common areas in hotels & hostels and in harbourside kiosks, etc., etc.

      We stayed in a ten room hotel in a town near Bremen which had nobody at reception when we arrived at about five in the afternoon on a Saturday. All the unused keys were on hooks on a board with a sign saying, "Please take a room key if the conceige is not present."

      The manager rolled up at eight the next day to cook breakfast and check us out but there was also a letterbox fixed to the wall in reception and payment envelopes if we'd wanted to leave earlier.

      Try that in the UK! Sad, really.

  12. dbgi

    Where did they get the power?

    It amuses me to think that they might have rung the door bell to some resident to use their mains electric socket.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Where did they get the power?

      That's a good point. I guess they're using a 12V DC to 240V AC inverter from their car's fag lighter socket. Sucking coins from a box wasn't part of the vacuum cleaner test matrix in Which? last I saw, so I don't know how well a cordless Dyson would work (and the batteries on those don't last long on a charge, and don't appear to have overcharge protection circuitry so leaving them in their wall mount means the battery is next to useless after 9 months.

      In any case, if you're stealing coins having your vacuum cleaner be transparent is a bug not a feature.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: Where did they get the power?

        Or they could just be using cordless vacuum cleaners. They've been around for decades but are starting to go a bit more mainstream.

      2. tfewster Silver badge

        Re: Where did they get the power?

        > don't ... have overcharge protection circuitry

        Yep, that's criminal too.

      3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Where did they get the power?

        Yet I've had a black and decker working fine for about 4 years now. Rarely managed to run it long enough to run down (probably 15+mins want keeping track) and that shuts the light off after a couple of hours.

    2. Juan Inamillion

      Re: Where did they get the power?

      Errm.... Battery power tools?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Where did they get the power?

        Oh yeah Juan, I now see Ryobi and Makita, and likely others, make vacuum cleaners that take their respective 18v batteries. Hmmm...

        Any builders out there know how well they suck compared to a Henry?

    3. Velv Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Where did they get the power?

      The parking meters are powered - if you can drill a hole to the cash box you could easily drill a hole to the power and tap the wires to power the vacuum.

      Guess you just need to figure out a way to power the drill first...

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Where did they get the power?

        Guess you just need to figure out a way to power the drill first...

        Well that's easy. You power it off the next meter down the road. They're normally not that far away.

  13. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Start up money

    These have to be beginners, they need start up money... Gotta buy some product to get started. Gotta outfit the streetwalkers too... It gets expensive

    Got my coat, copy of Scarface in the pocket... next to my little pop gun...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Start up money

      Can't these aspiring dealers use crowdfunding?

      http://www.27bslash6.com/guaranteed.html

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Start up money

        I read that as "aspirin dealers" and was wondering how they could undercut Superdrug, Morrisons, Aldi etc and still make a profit,

    2. -tim

      Re: Start up money

      I was woken up by what I thought were hacksaw sounds and I noticed a guy with the hood of his car up and working on something. The next day I notice that the parking meter was gone and there was a freshly cut pipe where it used to be. A few days latter all the parking meters were gone as it appeared that the proceeds from the night of the slow hacksaw went to buy a proper pipe cutter which was quick and silent. A few weeks later all the meters were replaced and someone had welded rods on the sides of the pipes. I'm guessing a prybar was the next weapon of choice based on the paint on the top of the newly added fulcrum. The next step was rods with angles and far more precision. At AU$10,000 per year per space, the council wasn't about to let that money go away.

      A neighbor wanted to protest the increase in parking cost by getting a key made for the parking meters and then get a hundred copies made and distributed to the homeless before a long weekend. The plan would have put an enormous pressures on the council's finances. He want to call it "keys for the homeless"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coins going through a vacuum cleaner is just one step away from money laundering

  15. Rattyclan

    I wait with bated breath for the first arrest for carrying a concealed Dyson!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Mobile car valets are going to get pulled in for questioning fairly often.

  16. 10forcash Bronze badge

    Plow

    Plough. It's Plough - as in 'snow', which is probably ehat they'll be spending the coin on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plow

      Taking a swipe at someone for careless spelling is a lough blough

    2. ratfox Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Plow

      According to the dictionary, plough is not pronounced as snow, but as in cow.

      1. 10forcash Bronze badge

        Re: Plow

        Dictionaryize 'Snowplough'

        ;-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the next scam will be...

    Thieves putting a sticker over the notice telling you how to pay for parking without coins, with some different details on it... like maybe a QR code.... I'm sure it will be a very convenient way to lose a large quantity of money quickly.

    1. The Mole

      Re: And the next scam will be...

      And the crooks will design it right so that it is far quicker and more convenient than the real systems...

    2. Locky Silver badge

      Re: And the next scam will be...

      Ah, but you'll know it's a scam if it takes less than 15 minutes to register your card, car reg and first born to some Sirius Cybernetics robot...

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    So this is why Dyson is moving to Singapore!!

    Having enabled this robbery, he wants to get out of Dodge before London's penniless meter maids show up to beat his ass!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: So this is why Dyson is moving to Singapore!!

      Well the typical political solution to this problem would be to ban vacuum cleaners

  19. Simon Harris Silver badge

    With German vacuum cleaners...

    Bish, Bash, Bosch, job done.

  20. Milton Silver badge

    "funding further criminality"

    'We also now know from local police that this is funding further criminality in London, from drugs and trafficking to possibly violent crime," Pascall added.'

    And many of us remember the frothing propaganda about video piracy, telling us that copying a tape supported terrorists and international criminals and intercontinental drugs gangs and child traffickers and black market arms dealers (and, who knows, even to the worst of the worst, the Catholic Church?) ... it's funny how no one ever said, "Yeah, some pikies are knocking out tapes in Wolverhampton and buying new caravans".

    These hysterical warnings of all the hellish evils being funded by pound coins sucked from council meters are sooo yesterday, not to mention silly, unnecessary and counterproductive, because when you begin this kind of hype, people don't even trust you when you do speak facts.

  21. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    Bootnotes? Shouldn't this story be filed under "Emergent Tech"?

    nt

  22. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I'm just a tad surprised that the Cool Hand Luke method isn't used. Pipe cutter, a bit of beer, wall around a few meters a few times, and voila.. more beer money.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Pint

      +1 for showing our age... Have one on me --->

    2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
      Trollface

      Cool Hand Luke

      Came here to post just that.

      However, consider the goose and the golden eggs.

      You really need to cut a hole then plug it so it isn't obvious so you can repeat the cash grab with minimal effort every few days.

      Which in turn raises the questions. Do the councils repair or replace? Do people keep feeding the meter when there is a hole in the side? How long before the theft is detected?

      1. M.V. Lipvig
        Joke

        Re: Cool Hand Luke

        Or the thief could save some time by just hanging a bucket under the hole. Punter pays the meter, coin falls straight through the meter and into the bucket. Works for maple syrup.

    3. Loud Speaker

      the Cool Hand Luke

      In my day, we used home made Thermite. Pour it round the base of the meter, insert lighted magnesium ribbon, count to five, and remove the meter.

      It helps to wear overalls and drive a 3 1/2 ton Bedford tipper (you can carry more meters that way).

  23. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    "We have gangs stalking the streets..."

    In the case of London Borough of Westminster, that would be

    "We have gangs of Traffic Wardens stalking the streets..."

  24. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Loopholes

    On this side of the pond, there's a loophole that since cashless parking meters don't involve cash, they aren't required to show time remaining. They only do so if you pay with cash.

    So even though you paid for 30min and left after 10, the next guy has no way to see there's 20min remaining and is forced to pay.

    And yes, the apps are equally as shite as the ones described above.

  25. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Unless they're using them as blunt objects to smash the payment machines, I very much doubt they're using Hoovers. You'd need a cylinder vacuum cleaner to do that sort of stuff.

  26. D.U.B

    It's not the gangs, the drugs,or the $4 hookers they want to stop.

    It's the cash.

    They want to ban the cash.

    Cash is freedom.

    Cash anonymity.

    The gangs, drugs, and hookers are jut the aforementioned "for the children" cover story.

    Easier to track card tansactions and build travel history.

    How long after banning cash before installing cameras and microphones.

    Can't build dossiers without data......

  27. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    WTF?

    Coins?!

    Here in (normally backward) Australia, all of our parking meters had contactless payment systems installed in them years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coins?!

      It's England. Quaint and parochial is the name of the game.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A sock stuffed up inside the coin return slot - old school

    Come back later, remove sock, get all the rejected and cancelled coins.

    Works best in a pay phone.

  29. Mr Dogshit
    FAIL

    I think I may have the solution

    Don't charge for parking.

    You're shafting me with fuel duty, VAT on top of that, road fund licence thingy (whatever it's called), insurance premium tax... isn't that enough?

    1. Spamfast Bronze badge
      Trollface

      Re: I think I may have the solution

      You're shafting me with fuel duty, VAT on top of that, road fund licence thingy (whatever it's called), insurance premium tax... isn't that enough?

      I don't like NCP's virtual monopoly on private car parks but none of this tax goes to the owner of the car park if privately owned and only a proportion if council-owned. (The council may see more if it's in London than anywhere else in England but that's a different flame war.)

      Councils and central government have to spend money to maintain the roads. If you want the road network improved it costs a bloody fortune. (And if you're advocating increasing road capacity I want to see an equal or greater amount spent on improving public transport and building proper, safe cycle paths.)

      If some of this comes from people who insist on driving around in central London and other city centres then good luck to the councils. It's either that or it has to come from everybody else.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I think I may have the solution

        "Councils and central government have to spend money to maintain the roads. "

        "the government" gets around £5-6 billion from "road tax" (vehicle excise duty)

        It gets over £60 biillion from road fuel excise duty (that's a _large_ chunk of total income - possibly the single largest chunk by type)

        Both of those go into the central fund and are used for general spending. Talk of "ringfencing" road tax is playing a shell game and hoping you don't notice the fuel taxes because roading costs about £7-10 billion to maintain and then they can say there's not enough income so you have to live with the potholes. (oh woe is us)

        Councils _by law_ are not allowed to use parking(and fines) income as general revenue, but in practice they've come up with various scams to allow them to actually do so. Westminster in particular is known as a parking company with a council parasitically attached.

        The more astute will have already noticed that:

        1: Electric vehicles mean less fuel duty

        2: Self driving vehicles can go and park themselves where the charges are lower

        3: Self driving vehicles are bound to result in lower levels of vehicle ownership

        Which means that in a few years central government is going to be looking to make up a substantial loss of revenue, probably by adding a fuel duty component to electric vehicle charging (~90p per litre of your fuel is tax in some form or another, the actual fuel is only about 25p) because they're not particularly imaginative. VED is a relatively small amount and they can stand the losses there but ZEVs will eventually start having an annual tax on them because they're the government and because they can.

        And in a few years (probably fewer years) councils such as Westminster are going to be finding that they're going to be looking at _substantial_ income shortfalls that need to be made up.

        Interestingly, public transport can actually make the road condition _worse_ - road damage is proportional to the 5th power of axle weight and the square of velocity, with the practical upshot that a 10 tonne vehicle (bus) averaging 45 passengers does roughly 8-10,000 times the damage PER PASS that a car does. This is something that several cities around the world have found out to their chagrin - having successfully reduced traffic levels in central areas and only allowing busses in sensitive areas, they tend to find that roads and surrounding continue to deteriorate just as fast as before (faster if they have to increase bus frequencies). One city (Vancouver?) made things worse on a particular downtown road by making it bus-only and funnelling the things down it, with the result that its wear rate tripled.

        1. Spamfast Bronze badge
          Stop

          Re: I think I may have the solution

          Upvoted - good analysis. But ...

          Westminster in particular is known as a parking company with a council parasitically attached.

          Let's face it - anything in Westminster whether local or national is self-serving offshore bank stuffing.

          Self driving vehicles

          Show me one in which you'd be willing to be conveyed on the M1 at 70mph, Marylebone Road at 40 or a country road in Dorset at 30. I'll give you ten years to find it.

          Then I'll send flowers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think I may have the solution

      > Don't charge for parking.

      That would guarantee that every space in $town will be full all day, dawn to dusk with office workers parking for free and no one else would ever get a look in.

      If you say - well we'll limit the time - then you'll need a warden to enforce it and who is going to pay their wages? Introduce parking charges, of course - so that the cost of parking is borne by those who use it not the local rate payers.

      Oh look, we're back where we are now.

  30. The Vociferous Time Waster

    They are...

    They are Dyson with trouble.

    Coat etc.

    1. AIBailey

      Re: They are...

      Indeed. Hoover they think they are?

  31. Simon B-52

    Getting kids interested in engineering

    One of the things that interested me in engineering was a harvest made in a local town where a whole street full of parking meters disappeared overnight, leaving only the steel tubes set in the pavement, missing the top foot or so, plus the meter head.

    The cut ends of the tubes were very neat, with distinctive concentric markings and a slight burring of the outside edge.

    Eventually they were replaced, this time with a half inch steel bar welded to the side, all the way up the tube, to prevent repetition of the loss, which had been effected using a large pipe cutter - a very big brother of the kind used for copper pipe in domestic plumbing.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Getting kids interested in engineering

      "Eventually they were replaced, this time with a half inch steel bar welded to the side, all the way up the tube, to prevent repetition of the loss,"

      In other words "Oh zowie, a new challenge! Thanks guys!"

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