Toilet vandalism costing hundreds of pounds of damage
- Credit: Archant
Ottery’s new public toilets could have to close as a spate of ‘mindless’ vandalism is seeing taxpayers’ money go down the pan, the mayor has warned.
The town council spent more than £15,000 turning part of the old NatWest building in Silver Street into loos, which opened last year.
Mayor Glyn Dobson has expressed his frustration as vandals have targeted the facilities three times since February. The latest incident saw a window smashed in the early hours of Easter Monday.
The council has already reduced the opening hours of the facility and Councillor Dobson added that, if the damage continues, the authority may not have a choice but to close the toilets for good.
Cllr Dobson said: “Because of the money being spent on vandalism, we have had to review the opening hours and cut them down and now we have to review if we are to keep the toilets open. At the end of the day, the money we are spending is public money and we have to be held accountable.
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“It is just mindless vandalism. We are going to have to put different locks in there.
“No council can continue to fund it with this damage - it is not viable. You just get the mindless vandalism from a few people that are doing this.
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“We just cannot justify having to keep paying for these repairs.”
Cllr Dobson said the toilets will now be open at the same time as the library, rather than from 7am to 8pm.
In February, the council voted to install another CCTV camera and reduce opening hours after vandals set fire to a strap on the baby changer, removed the smoke alarm and turned the taps around in the ladies’ loos.
Cllr Dobson told colleagues at a meeting this week that repairs had just been carried out to fix the smoke detector that had been ripped from the ceiling.
A police spokesman said: “The council reported vandalism in the toilets to us, which took place overnight between Sunday, April 1, and Monday, April 2.
“CCTV is being reviewed. Anyone with any information as to who the culprits are, is asked to email via firstname.lastname@example.org.”