Van­dal­ism hits cash strapped coun­cil

Re­pair bill

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN WALSH

Van­dals have cost a cash-strapped coun­cil more than £67,000 in the last two years – with al­most 40% of the bill go­ing to dam­aged schools.

New fig­ures re­veal there were 207 in­ci­dents in the re­gion, with 58 of them tak­ing place in schools.

The to­tal cost of the re­pairs to the au­thor­ity was £67,617 and within that, the dam­age to schools amounted to £26,330.

This bill does not in­clude the most re­cent van­dal at­tack at Fraser­burgh Academy, where the win­dows were smashed over the hol­i­days caus­ing around £10,000 of dam­age.

In to­tal there have been 1,043 in­ci­dents since 201415, cost­ing the au­thor­ity a whop­ping £255,674.

Po­lice have branded the of­fences “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able” and have warned they will come down hard on any­one caught com­mit­ting these types of crimes.

Mean­while, north-east MSP Pe­ter Chap­man said the cul­prits should “hang their heads in shame”.

He said: “Tax­pay­ers are pay­ing out many thou­sands of pounds ev­ery year just to keep pub­lic build­ings clean of graf­fiti and other van­dal­ism.

“Aberdeen­shire can­not af­ford to do this any longer.”

Mr Chap­man said the crimes heaped fur­ther pres­sure on the au­thor­ity which was al­ready hav­ing to make “hard choices” in a tough eco­nomic cli­mate.

“So it’s a real shame when we think of what else that money could be pay­ing for. The in­di­vid­u­als are also com­mit­ting crimes and should hang their heads in shame,” he added.

Chief In­spec­tor Ste­wart Drum­mond, area com­man­der for South Aberdeen­shire, said: “Van­dal­ism of any kind is un­ac­cept­able and ma­li­cious dam­age to schools is not only costly to re­pair but of­ten has an im­pact on those who use the school daily as well as the wider com­mu­nity.

“Our mes­sage re­mains the same – this type of be­hav­iour will not be tol­er­ated and all in­ci­dents re­ported to us will be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated and where crim­i­nal­ity is es­tab­lished those found re­spon­si­ble will be re­ported to the rel­e­vant au­thor­ity.”

Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil has also urged any­one who has in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to van­dal­ism to re­port it.

A spokes­woman said: “Van­dal­ism is never a vic­tim­less crime. It is un­for­tu­nate that coun­cil tax­pay­ers’ money has to be spent on re­pair­ing in­stances of van­dal­ism at schools and other coun­cil prop­er­ties.”

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