Reward offer to stop Sidmouth skateboard park vandals

Sidmouth Town Council chairman offers reward for help over vandalism at Manstone skateboard park

A REWARD has been offered by the chairman of Sidmouth Town Council to anyone able to shed light on why the town’s skateboard park is being vandalised.

Councillor Peter Sullivan made the surprise announcement at Monday’s monthly meeting during discussions about the latest sorry state of the �40,000 facility for young skateboarders, opened in 2007.

With safety fencing unbolted and the gate to prevent motorbikes on site now missing, Mr Sullivan said: “It is not fair. Why was the gate taken? I would like the person who knows where the gate is to inform us and I will give a reward.”

He said he wanted to know why certain youths were determined to spoil the park, which is used by skateboarders on a daily basis.

“We have put it there for them. If someone comes forward I would be happy to talk to them and find out why, if we can get the gate back and if it is intact.”

He and the town clerk visited the Manstone Recreation Ground concrete skateboard park recently and witnessed bolts removed from safety fencing and a burnt out rubbish bin.

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The gate was removed once but found in The Brook. Now it is completely missing.

“I think it should all be taken away and concreted out, they don’t deserve it,” remarked Councillor Sylvia Carr.

However, other councillors defended skateboarders, saying it was a minority causing trouble.

Clerk Trina Jarrett said: “The chairman and I spoke to some and they were really upset about what is happening there, the damage being done and that they are getting the blame for it.”

Youngsters helped with the design of the park, which was jointly funded by East Devon District Council, Sidmouth Town Council; trustees of the playing fields, Sidmouth Lions Club, and skaters, who helped raise money.

“We fought tooth and nail to get this skateboard park and I am not prepared to see it removed,” said Councillor Graham Liverton, who thought the council should see how it operated without the gate.

“We may have to consider padlocking it to make it secure,” he added.

Councillor Chris Gibbings wondered why the bolts had not been spot-welded to stop them from being removed and said the vandals would have come equipped with tools to remove the fencing.

“It is the minority ruining it for the majority. We are going to have to be more vigilant,” added Councillor Chris Wale.

Sidmouth Youth Council was asked this week to also keep an eye on the skateboard park.

*If you have information regarding the vandalism please contact Sidmouth Town Council on (01395) 512424.