Van­dals hit school pool

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Van­dals jumped the fence at Whit­ney Street School’s swim­ming pool on Thurs­day night but weren’t con­tent to just swim.

On Fri­day morn­ing, the school’s care­taker, Clive Gap­per found toi­let pa­per in the pool and en­crusted on walls, doors and the sur­round­ing ground and urine cov­ered the toi­lets.

‘‘It’s just sense­less,’’ Gap­per said.

New se­cu­rity cam­eras and a spot­light trained on the pool from dusk un­til dawn, in­stalled just be­fore the sum­mer hol­i­days, didn’t de­ter the ‘‘dirty beg­gars’’.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve how stupid they are to do it when we have cam­eras,’’ Gap­per said.

Gap­per, who is on hol­i­day, had come to the school to clean the mess.

He said the dam­age, had toi­let pa­per been sucked into the fil­ter, would have been very costly.

‘‘It could have re­ally bug­gered up the swim­ming sea­son,’’ he said.

‘‘If it had got into the fil­ter, that would have been the sea­son.’’

Gap­per said they had had trou­ble a few weeks ago when teenagers threw a hoist con­troller, used to con­trol the hoist which al­lowed dis­abled chil­dren to en­ter the pool, into the wa­ter.

He fished the con­troller out of the pool and dried it. There was no last­ing dam­age.

‘‘If it was bro­ken, our dis­abled kids couldn’t go swim­ming,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not very fair on them.’’

Van­dal­ism, how­ever, wasn’t lim­ited to the pool area.

Gap­per said rub­bish, empty cans and bot­tles of al­co­hol and dam­age to ta­bles and school prop­erty were com­mon forms of van­dal­ism.

‘‘Some peo­ple just don’t care,’’ he said.

The pop­u­lar pool was well at­tended by the school com­mu­nity.

Dis­ap­pointed par­ents and com­mu­nity mem­bers vented their frus­tra­tion and of­fered help on the pri­mary school’s Face­book page.

Prin­ci­pal Ch­eryl Wad­worth said it wasn’t the first time the pool had been van­dalised.

‘‘It’s dis­ap­point­ing be­cause we’re try­ing to share it with the com­mu­nity,’’ Wad­worth said. ‘‘The care­taker spends a lot of time paint­ing it ev­ery year.

‘‘It’s been van­dalised a few times now.’’

Se­cu­rity footage will be re­viewed by Wad­worth be­fore ‘‘tak­ing the next step’’.

Com­mu­nity con­sta­ble Rus­sel Smith said po­lice of­fi­cers that dealt with the in­ci­dent would de­cide on whether the van­dal­ism would be con­sid­ered dam­age.

‘‘If it has cost some­one work to re­move or paint­ing and clean­ing, that could be con­sid­ered dam­age,’’ he said.

Smith said there was no ‘‘magic bul­let’’ to de­ter van­dals but hav­ing a sur­veil­lance sys­tem with clear sig­nage was help­ful.

‘‘The best sur­veil­lance is other peo­ple.

‘‘Of­ten the type of per­son who dam­ages things won’t do it if they know some­one is watch­ing them,’’ Smith said.

He said there had been a low num­ber of re­ports of dam­age over the sum­mer hol­i­day.

‘‘If mem­bers of the pub­lic come across some­one caus­ing wil­ful dam­age, call the po­lice,’’ he said.

‘‘The best and fastest way to get in con­tact with the po­lice is to call 111.’’

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