Thieves have been targeting a number of pay and display machines across the Cotswolds.

Cotswold District Council car parks have been the target of the thefts, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and disruption to car park users.

A machine in the Abbey Grounds, Cirencester and one in Stow were vandalised on Wednesday night, leaving both machines out of order.

The spate of thefts involves the thieves breaking into the machines and stealing the cash.

Whilst this has resulted in lost income, the bigger issue is the inconvenience to motorists as the machines have to be reinforced and repaired and are out of operation until this work can be completed.

Cotswold District Council Cllr Mark Harris said: "We are working with the police to try and tackle this problem and urge motorists to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour in our car parks to the police.

"We will be emptying the machines so that no cash is held in them overnight which will hopefully deter thieves and prevent the damage to the machines.

"We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this is causing.”

There have been five other incidents in the last two weeks at car parks in Chipping Campden, Stow, Bourton and Moreton.

Repairs to these machines, which will include fitting specially designed plates developed to make it harder to break into them, are expected to be carried out in the next week and other security measures have already been put in place.

If a pay and display machine is out of action, motorists with phones can still pay by calling, texting or using the app.