Vandals have been criticised for leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill after they attacked a pay and display machine in Maldon.
Glass in the machine at White Horse Lane car park was smashed between last Saturday and Monday, although it is thought no attempt was made to steal any money from inside.
The damage was valued at £300.
Sgt Perry Land said: “It just shows the mindlessness of some criminals.
“That’s £300 of damage which comes out of the council’s budget and ultimately is paid for by the taxpayer.”
Witnesses are urged to call police on 101.