Vandals dismantle community bench

Councillors Michael Wincott and Richard Street
Councillors Michael Wincott and Richard Street

VANDALS have dismantled a £600 community bench in full view of three CCTV cameras just yards away.

The attack took place overnight on the bench located on Old London Road in Ore village centre near the public toilets.

Ore councillor Michael Wincott, who campaigned to get the bench installed, is furious the damage was allowed to be carried out in full view of the cameras.

He claims one is a roving camera which can scan up and down the high street.

The bench was partly dismantled through the removal of eight iron bolts which would have taken a considerable amount of time to carry out.

“This is just not good enough,” said Cllr Wincott.“I can’t understand how we can have three cameras so close to the scene of a crime like this and they can be totally ineffective.

“I will be writing to the CCTV controller to find out what happened here. There must be some footage of he culprits.”

Mike Hepworth, head of environmental services, said he would investigate the matter.

The bench was funded by the council and installed in the Spring of 2011.

Sussex Police is appealing for witnesses to the vandalism which took place sometime between 6pm on Monday September 3 and 10.15am on Tuesday, September.

Police community support officer Lucy Paffett said: “The bench was left partly dismantled and missing eight large bolts.

“Perhaps the thieves were aiming to take the whole serpentine style bench but realised that this was not going to be possible.

“It would have taken a considerable amount of time and effort to remove the bolts. Someone must know who is responsible for this mindless criminal damage.”

Cllr Wincott added: “Questions need to be asked about the monitoring of these cameras. What can they do and what can they monitor?

“I was under the impression that when sold to the council the benches were meant to be difficult to vandalise or create graffiti on.

“Everyone used it, young and old, for eating snacks, resting with shopping, having a chat.

“And yet, in spite of all those people that appreciated the bench, it only takes one or two selfish individuals to take that away from us.”

Witnesses and anyone with information can contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 470 of 4/9 or leave a message anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.