VANDALS ripped a car park meter from the ground less than two weeks after it started charging motorists parking near the sea wall at Keyhaven.
The New Forest District Council short-stay parking machine in Solent Way is believed to have been targeted on Tuesday night.
A spokesperson for NFDC told the A&T on Wednesday: “Our site visit this morning has confirmed this was a deliberate act of criminal damage and we are investigating with the police.
“There are extensive scratches and dents, and the machine will need to be reset, at an estimated cost of £500.”
The meter had been put into action on New Year’s Day when the council officially designated the area as a short-stay car park in a bid to prevent lengthy stays by campervans.
Motorists are now required to pay to park for up to three hours, with charges of £1 for one hour, £2 for two hours and £4. for three hours. Long-stay parking clocks can also be used.
Longer stay parking for up to 20 hours is available at the nearby main car park.
Those with information about the vandalism should contact Hampshire police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.