Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Theft and Vandalism May Force Pier's Closure

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Theft and Vandalism May Force Pier's Closure

Article excerpt

Byline: Henderson Environment Editor tony.henderson@ncjmedia.co.uk

APIER which is in the process of restoration may be closed to the public because of re peated vandalism and theft.

Another option on whether to ban fishing on Roker Pier in Sun derland could also be considered because of recurring problems.

John Kelly, Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said: "There appears to be a tiny minori ty, some who claim to use the pier for sea fishing, who are determined to spoil this restoration project.

"There have been more than a dozen incidents of theft, vandalism and trespass during the works along with threats and verbal abuse to the contractors.

"These problems are wasting both council tax payers' money and the grant that came through the Heritage Lottery Fund, causing serious delays to the restoration work."

Public access, subject to heavy seas, was restored in November last year after a PS850,000 programme of repairs to the listed structure.

The pier's lighthouse is currently being restored in the latest phase of work. But the lighthouse and the works compound for contractors have suffered with fixtures and fit tings vandalised, arson attempts and tools being stolen. Despite warnings, people have also climbed works scaffolding and put them selves in danger.

In the latest incident the lightTony house was broken into and tools were stolen and damage was done to the site.

Police have received reports of antisocial behaviour in the area and are investigating a burglary where workmen's tools were stolen, along with reports of damage caused within the work site.

Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: "Local officers are aware of the issues and have increased patrols in the area.

"Officers from the Neighbour hood police teams have also pro vided crime prevention advice on the site and made suggestions around how security could be improved. …

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