Council forced to close toilet following vandalism spree

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SUS-170614-114721001

The council has been forced to close a public toilet in Battle after the facility was trashed by vandals.

The accessible toilet at the North Trade Road Recreation Ground, which was only opened in August, was targeted on Sunday afternoon (June 11).

SUS-170614-114654001

SUS-170614-114654001

During the vandalism spree, part of the wall was ripped away after the hand drier was pulled off the wall.

The soap dispenser was pushed into the toilet, along with a hefty amount of toilet roll, before those responsible tried to set fire to it.

It’s unclear how much it will cost to repair the damage, but Battle Town Council said it was likely to cost “several hundred pounds”.

Although there have been a few minor incidents of wilful damage in the last few weeks, the council has endeavoured to repair these and keep the facility open.

But the destruction caused on Sunday has left the council no option but to lock the doors.

Cllr Glenna Favell, chairman of the council’s environment committee, said: “I feel so disappointed that the users of the rec once again have to walk along the North Trade Road in order to use a toilet.”

Cllr David Furness, chairman and town mayor, said: “We are frustrated that our efforts to improve the town are being thwarted by a small minority of people.”

He urged the public to contact the police if they see anything suspicious.

It is not yet clear who is responsible for the vandalism, but a group of youths has recently been reported to the police due to other incidents of antisocial behaviour, including smoking illegal substances in the now closed toilet.

Cllr Favell added: “I hope that actions like this will not hinder the council’s ambitious plans to provide a wider range of facilities on the rec, which include a new play area for children, new leisure equipment for teenagers and a café. Hopefully, once these projects are completed, the rec will be busy with people enjoying the wonderful space and the vandals will be deterred.”

Inspector Dan Russell of Sussex Police said: “I am so saddened by this mindless vandalism. Those who committed this criminal offence fail to understand the impact this has on the community.”

E-mail district.rother@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with any information.