Sussex Police have arrested a 56-year-old man in connection with the damage to car parking signs on Ashdown Forest. He was arrested on 19 October on suspicion of criminal damage following a report of a car park sign being pulled off a wooden post and thrown into nearby bushes on 11 October.

He was interviewed and has been released on bail while the investigation is ongoing.

Inspector Andy Barker, of the Rural Crime Team, said: “The Forest is one of the largest open areas in the South East, and a safe space for our communities and visitors to enjoy all year round. We are dedicated to keeping it this way and take all reports of criminality seriously.”

Since the parking payment scheme was introduced in November 2022 there have been several incidents of signs being damaged, removed or destroyed in some of the Forest’s 45 car parks.

The vast majority of the Forest’s visitors pay for parking which raises much needed revenue for the maintenance of public paths, tracks, and other services. However, there has been significant damage to the signs in 18 car parks which had to be replaced or reinstated at a cost to Ashdown

Mark Infield, Ashdown Forest’s Land Recovery Manager said: “We welcome around 1.4 million visitors to the Forest every year. When they pay to park, they understand that they are making an important contribution to the protection of this unique landscape. Replacing the signs is costly and impacts on the amount of revenue generated. Paid parking was introduced to raise funds to improve Ashdown Forest for everyone and we remain
committed to this.”

Mark added: “We would like to thank the person who saw one of our signs being damaged and reported it to the police. We would also like to thank Sussex Police for their help and support, as we continue to work with them to keep the Forest safe and accessible for everyone.”

Sussex Police advise that enquiries into the offences are continuing and anyone who witnesses any suspicious behaviour in the area, or who has any information relating to the damage, is asked to contact police online or by calling 101 quoting serial 47230200503.


For more about parking payments visit: