Police sign damaged but crime statistics fall in Sidmouth for March

Sergeant Andy Squires. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 6365-33-13SH To order your copy of this photogra

Sergeant Andy Squires. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 6365-33-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmoutherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders. - Credit: Archant

A police warning sign placed in a rural car park was left ‘beyond repair’.

Sergeant Andy Squires told the town council last Monday, (April 8) that officers dealt with 58 crimes in March 2018 in comparison to 44 for last month, before vandals damaged an A3 sign put up in Weston car park to warn drivers about vehicle break-ins - less than a week after installation.

Sgt Squires told the meeting that rural car park break-ins was his ‘biggest bugbear’ and had worked with Clinton Devon Estate to tackle the issue.

Signs have been put up at Norman Lockyer Observatory, Weston car park and Blackberry Camp.

Sgt Squires told the meeting: “Unfortunately my beautiful sign at Weston car park lasted six days, before somebody wrenched open the frame and twisted it beyond repair and stole my sign, which is frustrating beyond belief as they are not cheap.

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“I have been out to replace it. How long that will last I don’t know, but this was always a problem over the years that the signs just got removed.

“We are convinced that’s by the perpetrators who are breaking into the vehicles in an attempt to not warn people to take their valuables away so they will park their cars unaware of the danger.

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“This time they have decided to wreck my signed frame, which is supposed to be vandal proof. It’s dry but wrecked.”

As part of the monthly crime statistics, he told the council there had been a ‘noticeable drop’ in incidents of violence, thefts and public offences orders in comparison with the same time last year. Non-crimes reported fell from 146 to 139.

The officer said in future he would be moving to a rolling 12 month report to give a better picture of crime in the area, rather than isolating it month by month.

In the period of March 2018 to March 2019, violent crimes decreased from 182 to 178, burglary dwellings decreased from 24 to 23, non-dwellings increased from 30 to 31.

There were rises in vehicle offences from 43 to 45 and criminal damage increased the most from 76 incidents to 94.

The team has seen a rise in yearly crime figures increasing by 1.2 per cent from 585 offences for 2017/2018 to 595 for 2018/2019.

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