Life­savers fed up as stinger sig­nage, flags nicked from city beaches Idiots steal safety signs

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

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‘‘ 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.

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