'Shock' over major destruction in canal attack near Horsham

A major attack on a canal near Horsham has shocked canal workers, affected fish and wildlife and led to the cancellation of boat trips.
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The attack – on equipment at the Wey and Arun Canal in Loxwood – caused so much destruction that repairs are likely to cost more than £50,000.

Members of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust, who have been working for years to restore the 23-mile canal, have been left shocked by the attack which happened on Saturday (April 1).

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Electrical control equipment for pumps was destroyed, releasing water, and multiple pumping control locations were attacked – and padlocks removed from canal locks to release water down the canal.

Water was released during the destruction on the canal - affecting fish and wildlife and leading to the cancellation of boat tripsWater was released during the destruction on the canal - affecting fish and wildlife and leading to the cancellation of boat trips
Water was released during the destruction on the canal - affecting fish and wildlife and leading to the cancellation of boat trips

The canal trust says it has reported the crime to the police and is working to assess the extent of damage and the repairs required. Some limited temporary repairs are being made today (Tuesday) to attempt to refill the sections of canal used for boat trips.

Canal trips scheduled for this Wednesday have already been cancelled and further trips are at risk, say officials, who are now planning to launch a fundraising campaign to help meet the £50,000-plus cost of repairs and lost income from cancelled boat trips.

The trust, a charity, is volunteer-led and does not receive any regular support from public funds. It says money for repairs will have to come from funds donated to restore and improve the canal.

Repairs are likely to cost more than £50,000Repairs are likely to cost more than £50,000
Repairs are likely to cost more than £50,000
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A spokesperson said: “The damage is a major blow to our volunteers who have put in so much work to restore and improve the canal through Loxwood in the last few years.

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"The local community use the canal for recreation whether walking, cycling, horse-riding in addition to those who get on the water to kayak, paddleboard or enjoy a boat trip with the trust.”

Trust chairwoman Sally Schupke said “This is a major shock for the canal trust and our brilliant volunteers.

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"Our Easter boat trips are in jeopardy and the financial hit to the trust will impact other improvements planned to the canal.”

Anyone with any information about what happened is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting ‘0731 of 2/4/23’ or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111