Thousands of pounds have been stolen from pay and display machines at car parks run by Cheshire East Council.
The authority says more than 20 machines located in Macclesfield, Crewe, Nantwich and Congleton have been targeted in recent weeks, with some of these thefts taking place in daytime.
They believe estimated £15,000 has been stolen so far, and the damage done to the machines will cost in the region of £10,000 to repair.
Cheshire Police have been informed.
Drivers using the car parks are being asked to remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.
The council says the money it receives from parking machines is used to ensure car parks are safe, secure and well maintained.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a targeted crime against our tax-payers and we ask anyone using our car parks to be on the look out for suspicious behaviour.
“This is not a victimless crime. Not only has the car park money been stolen, it is also our tax-payers who have to pick up the bill to repair or replace these damaged machines.
“This diverts essential money away from other areas of the council, which is there to provide vital services to the most vulnerable people in our community.
“We apologise for the inconvenience these thefts are causing our car park users and we are working to repair or replace the machines as soon as possible. Motorists can still pay for their parking by using the other options displayed in the car park.”
Anyone that sees suspicious activity is strongly advised not to approach possible perpetrators and, instead, report concerns to Cheshire police on 101.
Damaged parking meters can be reported to the council by emailing: parkingenforcement@
Targeted machines so far include:
First Wood Street