A vandal who admitted damaging and defacing parking signs has paid for them to be repaired.

The man, a 56-year-old who has not been named by police, was arrested on October 19 this year after a spate of attacks on signs across Ashdown Forest’s 18 car parks.

Police found his fingerprints on some of the damaged signs.

Sussex Police said he admitted damaging 20 signs and has repaid £2,753 for their repair.

The vandalism began after forest officials introduced parking charges in November last year.

The fees were brought in to create revenue to improve paths and tracks, maintain or replace gates and bridges, fix potholes in car parks and restore eroded entrances and exits. 

Charges range from £2 for an hour to £5 for all day, or £80 for an annual pass.

Mark Infield, land recovery manager at Ashdown Forest, thanked the walker who saw a sign being damaged and reported it to police, which led to the arrest of the vandal.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Sussex Police PC Pete Hall said: "There are consequences for behaviour of this kind.

"Anyone identified as being responsible for damaging or defacing signage on the forest will be dealt with.

"This particular individual has been hit with a hefty financial penalty."