Police to lock Blackmore Gardens’ gates at night

Sidmouth In Bloom's Toad of Toad Hall was pulled out of its boat and damaged by vandals.

Sidmouth In Bloom's Toad of Toad Hall was pulled out of its boat and damaged by vandals. - Credit: Archant

A town centre park is to close during the evenings in a bid to reduce vandalism.

The gates to Blackmore Gardens will now be locked by a member of the Sidmouth’s neighbourhood policing team at 9pm.

This comes after £200 of damage was caused to Sidmouth in Bloom’s (SiB) floral displays during the summer and part of the conservatory was vandalised.

Addressing town councillors, Sergeant Andy Squires said: “We have agreed to lock the gardens at 9pm every evening in a bid to try and reduce the criminal damage that has been happening there over the last few months.

“It doesn’t stop people’s passage, as they can go around the outside of the wall, but if it means you have to jump over a six-foot-high gate with spikes on the top, then people will generally walk round than go through and cause damage.

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“Hopefully it will help.”

SiB’s figure of Toad of Toad Hall and the ‘Nessie’ Loch Ness Monster structures in the gardens were targeted on two separate occasions in June.

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The group’s chairman, Lynette Talbot, welcomed the move and said: “I think it is a good idea to discourage vandalism or any other problems, but it is still a matter of people being vigilant.

“It is not just SiB that has been affected. If damage is caused to street furniture, then it has to be replaced from town funds, which come from the rate payers.”

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