Lifesavers fed up as stinger signage, flags nicked from city beaches Idiots steal safety signs
THOUGHTLESS vandals are putting swimmers’ lives at risk by stealing warning signs at Townsville beaches meant to help keep them safe.
T o wns v i l l e r e g i o n l i f e g u a r d supervisor Russell Blanchard yesterday said he was fed up with people stealing flags or stinger warning signs, particularly along The Strand. He wanted those responsible to think about the consequences of their actions.
Mr Blanchard said, on average, surf l i f esavers would have t o replace at least four hazard signs and six red flags every month.
He said apart from the obvious financial cost to replace the signs, the human cost could be horrendous.
‘‘ Not everyone is a local and knows about the stingers,’’ he said.
‘‘ People do read ( the signs). That’s why people swim in the enclosures, tourists included.
‘‘ Potentially, it could be danger- ous for anyone not aware of the marine stinger situation. . . if they go down to a b e a c h a n d o u r signage is missing.’’
Mr Blanchard said given the dangerous c o n s e q u e n c e s o f s t e a l i n g war n i n g signs, he could not understand why people would commit the thoughtless act.
‘‘ I’ve found them ( flags) tied into capes or just ripped off,’’ he said. ‘‘ I found one yesterday that was tied around a vinegar station up at
Blanchard Tobruk ( pool), for what reason wouldn’t know.
‘‘ It’s like they just think ‘ hey, let’s rip this flag off and throw it in the park’. It’s pure vandalism, that’s all it is.’’
Mr Blanchard said he now had no choice but to make the signs harder to steal.
‘‘ Obviously we don’t rivet them on ( now), because we have a range of hazard signs like crocodiles, s h a r k s , s t r o n g c u r r e n t s , b u t specific ones we have for marine stingers I’m going to start riveting them on so people can’t ( take them),’’ he said.
‘‘ They’re cable tied on, but people just souvenir them and the red flags too. It makes me a bit wild, to be honest.’’
Townsvill e p o l i c e o f f i c e r - i ncharge, acting Senior-Sergeant Peter Steyger, described the vandalism as a ‘ ‘ stupid act’’ and warned anyone caught with a stolen sign would ‘‘ face to full force of the law’’.
‘‘ It’s obviously something we take very seriously,’’ he said.
Anyone with information about sign thefts should call Townsville police on 4759 9777 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.