Vandal blight

SIR - Although I don’t live in Sidmouth I am a very regular visitor and I care about Sidmouth’s future.

Reading recent Herald articles describing the continued vandalism in Connaught Gardens and other locations concerns me, as I’m sure it does most residents and visitors. I am confused by the police statements asking the public to help them. Would the police kindly describe what “helping them” means?

The reason I am asking this otherwise simple question is based upon my own experience of some eighteen months ago. I was walking in Connaught Gardens one evening when I heard a lot of shouting and general noise. I walked towards the noise and saw four youths smashing beer bottles, turning over seats and bins and running through the flower beds. They appeared to be drunk. I decided to retreat and seek help, but on my way out of the gardens, a car pulled up and two more youths and two girls alighted and joined the other four in creating havoc. I wrote down the car registration number and went to the nearest hotel and the police were telephoned. Some twenty minutes later, three police cars arrived with twelve police officers but the vandal’s car had driven away by then and the original four youths had walked down to the promenade.

I was able to give the police the car registration and details, and reasonable descriptions of the youths and their attire - one of which was very distinctive. The police were grateful for all my detailed information and said they would come back to see me for a witness statement. I handed them a conviction on a plate. I never heard from the police again.

What more could I have done to help the police trace these vandals? Please tell us what “the public’s help” should look like, if my attempts at helping the police came to nothing.

Interestingly, in an article titled “Beach Ban Back for Dogs” (Herald, April 27), it is stated that “anyone caught flouting the annual ban could face an on-the-spot fine or even a court appearance” (quite rightly).

Who will be issuing these fines and why are they not available to catch and fine the vandals who are costing Sidmouth so much in terms of reputation and financial repair?

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Paul Mellor

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