Barnet Borough Council spent £81,000 removing popular pay and display cash machines in its car parks, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The authority removed the parking meters in 2010 in favour of the new pay by phone system, which was introduced in 2008.

This meant motorists' only option was to pay using their bank card via their mobile phone.

But many complained the phone system is difficult to use, time consuming or they simply do not have a bank card or mobile to use it.

As a result, Barnet Council then spent £200,000 on installing the new pay by card machines in its car parks and streets.

The figures also show 39 pay and display card machines have since been installed in car parks in the borough.

Stephen Posen, of Bell Lane, Hendon, who logged the FoI request, said: "It’s a terrific waste of public money. An absolutely ludicrous situation.

"The cashless parking system is very inconvenient. I rarely use a mobile phone and I’ve been very put out by the removal of meters. I was very annoyed by it. I can’t be the only one.

"The cost has horrified me."

In November 2011, 451 pay and display cash machines were removed from the boroughs car parks and the first transactions for the new cashless system were made in January 2013.

The cost of each cashless system unit is £3,387, including the price of installation.

Each year, the pay and display cash machines cost the councils some £500,000 to empty and were regularly the target of vandalism.

Councillor Dean Cohen, cabinet member for environment, said the machines were "well part their sell by date".

He added: "The cost of removing cash meters back in 2011 paled in comparison to the amount they were costing to operate and maintain.

"This was one reason for moving towards a cashless policy and online transactions – an approach which has seen us install pay-by-card machines across the borough.

"These meters provide many of the benefits of cash meters, but do not incur the same costs."