Vandals cost taxpayers £30,000 in past year

November 28 2018
Vandals cost taxpayers £30,000 in past year

THE cost of vandalism in Wells in the past year has been put at nearly £30,000.

Money from taxpayers is having to be used to repair frequent damage to public facilities, and to deal with graffiti. Now the city council is urging members of the public to let the police know if they witness acts of vandalism in a bid to bring it under control.

“Wells City Council budgets are under strain due to the amount of vandalism and graffiti in Wells,” said the council’s responsible financial officer and open spaces officer Steve Luck.

“At the bus station toilets and ticket office the city council has spent nearly £9,000 on repairs to locks, glass and fitments.

“The skateboard park suffers from fires being set on the wooden ramps, broken glass and graffiti, added with damage to the Wells in Bloom planters, Christmas lights and general graffiti in the city. The damage costs are rising – as much as £30,000 of council tax payers’ money is being spent this year. This also reduces the new projects the city council can undertake.”

The council says it works closely with the police to combat vandalism, but is asking for more help from the public to monitor and report what is happening.

Mayor of Wells Councillor Celia Wride said the constant damage at the bus station toilets – which includes putting glue in the locks, breaking off tiles and damaging cisterns – is a “blight”.

“Somebody must be noticing what is going on there, in both the men’s and the ladies’ toilets – there is no difference between the sexes – and unless this stops more drastic security and surveillance steps will have to be taken,” she said.

“Someone knows who is doing this mindless damage and should report matters to the police. The vandalism will only carry on increasing and there are other areas in the city like the skateboard park and the Recreation Ground and just general graffiti on street walls and street furniture, and even to the public benches themselves, which all adds up to nearly £30,000 to remove and repair. Can I ask people to be on the lookout for those doing these anti-social acts and report it to the police? I want my rates to be used for positive and useful activities not to pay for other people’s wanton behaviour.”

Neighbourhood police inspector Mark Nicholson said that several people responsible for criminal damage earlier in the year have been identified and dealt with or are in the process of being dealt with.

He added: “Looking forward we have been working more closely with agency partners to prevent a repeat of similar incidents.

“We do rely on the public to work with us, be our ‘eyes and ears’ and report anti-social behaviour so that it can be dealt with. Anyone with information should call 101.

“However, we do prefer to deal with such matters at source and prevent such incidents from happening.”

The local beat team say that there has been more graffiti in the skate park recently and a bus shelter in Portway has had its glass smashed. They suggest that if members of the public see an incident in progress, they call 999 so descriptions of offenders can be provided and passed to response officers.