Sidmouth Ampitheatre targeted by vandals in 'heartbreaking' attack

Sidmouth Ampitheatre opened in October last year

Sidmouth Ampitheatre opened in October last year - Credit: Archant

Vandals have damaged the new ampitheatre in Sidmouth in a 'heartbreaking' attack.

The venue, in the grounds of the Knowle, opened just last year but has been targeted some time in the last couple of days, with the edges of some of the stone steps, smashed.

The police have been notified and Devon County Council (DCC) is appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

The ampitheatre is part of a £1 million flood alleviation scheme, and beneath it is an underground water storage system which has the capacity to contain floodwater up to a one in 30-year storm event.

Vandals have smashed some of the steps at Sidmouth Ampitheatre

Vandals have smashed some of the steps at Sidmouth Ampitheatre - Credit: DCC

The tiered sections above ground, which have been targeted by vandals, are also designed to store water during a one in 100-year storm event.

Estimates are yet to be carried out on how much it may cost to replace the steps or whether they can be repaired.

Councillor Roger Croad, cabinet member for public health, communities and equality at DCC, said: "This is mindless vandalism of something that is a unique and vital asset for the town. 

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"The ampitheatre is part of a scheme primarily designed to protect the town, which makes this even more galling. 

"I would urge anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the grounds of the ampitheatre to report it to the police."

Sidmouth Cllr Stuart Hughes said: "It’s absolutely heartbreaking that anyone could do this. 

"This structure was built for the community of Sidmouth, and while the flood alleviation scheme protects homes and businesses from flooding, the ampitheatre also provides a public space for the local community."

The ampitheatre was officially opened last October by DCC chair, Cllr Jeff Trail BEM, at a ceremonial event.

The scheme was constructed by South West Highways and was developed through DCC's Surface Water Management Plan for Sidmouth after properties in the town were flooded in November 2014. 

It was funded by DCC, DEFRA Flood Defence Grant in Aid and a Local Levy contribution administered by the South West Flood and Coastal Committee.