Wednesday, 18 February 2009

VANDALS HIT JACKEY BAKERS

Thanet district Council press release

Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused by vandals at Jackey Baker’s in Ramsgate, which has also led to disruption for local groups hoping to use the synthetic pitch at the site.

On Saturday night / Sunday morning (14 – 15 February), one of the floodlight columns was unbolted from its ground fixings and then smashed into the ground, damaging both the column and the light head.

Following checks, it has been confirmed that the only option is to replace them, which is likely to cost between £7,000 and £12,000. As a result of the vandalism, all floodlit bookings at the synthetic pitch have been cancelled for this week.

The synthetic pitch was installed approximately 15 years ago at Jackey Baker’s and it has only suffered from very small levels of vandalism over the years.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services, said: “This is just mindless vandalism and the people responsible have cost taxpayers dear and impacted on local groups, planning to use the pitch this week. Perhaps more worryingly, this type of vandalism puts their own lives – and the lives of others - in danger. It’s the first time that we’ve seen such extreme vandalism and obviously that’s of great concern to us. In this case, the electrics were left exposed and a column like this crashing to the ground would have been lethal, had anyone been in the way at the time. This vandalism also diverts money away from providing sports facilities at a time when finding funding is exceptionally difficult. If anyone has information about this incident, we’d urge them to contact the police.”

Inspector Terry Chuter, Neighbourhood Inspector for Ramsgate and Broadstairs, said: "This vandalism is likely to affect the groups using the site during half term, which makes it really disappointing for the whole community. Patrols and neighbourhood teams are a regular presence in this part of Thanet. Just this week, residents would also have seen East Kent's motorcycle unit in the vicinity, as a result of members of the public telling us young riders have been making a nuisance of themselves. Two vehicles have subsequently been seized this week.”

He added: "We would urge anyone with any information about this damage, or any other incidents they are concerned about, to speak to their neighbourhood officers and register it as part of their local PACT (Partners and Communities Together). Some significant differences have been made across the Isle through this process."

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