COUNCIL chiefs have high hopes for new parking ticket machines after the vandalism of older models resulted in substantial costs.

Wrexham Council's customers, performance, resources and governance scrutiny committee met at the Guildhall to discuss the authority's budget monitoring for 2017/18.

A report to the committee stated even though some departments are underspent and have made savings, the council is expected to overspend more than £200,000 on its current £255 million budget for 2017/18.

Cllr Nigel Williams asked council officers and Cllr Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, to explain the reason behind a £220,000 overspend in relation to a reduced income on car parking and what is being done to address the problem moving forward.

Cllr Pritchard said the sum came about largely due to the county's older parking machines being targeted by vandals last year - but spoke of his hopes that the new equipment could put a stop to the problem.

"I think we were all aware that the car parking machines were a target," he said. "They were being vandalised and damaged and there was some theft from them.

"There have been some arrests made and culprits have been dealt with. The good news is we have invested in new machines which we believe are better and more secure."

Lawrence Isted, the council's head of environment and planning, told the meeting: "We have invested in machinery with an apron around it to protect it from vandalism and we have had no problem with them so far. We did have a major problem last year."

At the beginning of this year Wrexham Council introduced new charges for its car parks, with some reductions and some rises as part of an effort to increase footfall and keep shoppers in the town for longer.