‘Mindless’ vandals attack sensory garden in Hailsham

The public toilets in Hailsham
The public toilets in Hailsham

Vandals have struck in Hailsham damaging the new public toilets for a second time, and breaking a braille sign in the Dennis King Memorial Sensory Garden.

Hailsham Town Council is appealing for witnesses to come forward after the public toilets on North Street were targeted, with vandals making off with a door stop and damaging a toilet roll holder.

It is believed the incident happened some time last week.

Around the same time vandals targeted the Dennis King Memorial Sensory Garden on Grovelands Road, breaking a Braille sign which is used by the blind and visually impaired.

The town council said the entrance sign is so badly damaged in the garden, which is maintained by Environment Hailsham, it cannot be repaired.

Vandals also targeted the plant beds around Hailsham War Memorial, and one of the World War One information signs located in the flower beds was broken.

A spokesman for the town council said: “A lot of time and money are put into providing quality gardens and floral displays for the local community to use and enjoy. It is disheartening to see such mindless acts of vandalism from people intent on destroying their local environment.”

A spokeswoman for Environment Hailsham added: “We are disappointed in particular that the Braille board has been ripped and spoilt as anyone with sight impairments cannot enjoy the full beauty of the garden as the guide is now not really readable. However, we are pressing on regardless and coming fresh from our Silver Gilt award, we are planning for a really good display for next year. We have a group of really keen enthusiastic volunteers who come out in all weathers to give a pride in our town and make it really attractive for residents and tourists. We are of course always looking for more people to come along and help us not only with gardening, but other skills to make a balanced team.”

It is the second time vandals have struck the public toilets after they were opened just two months ago. The town council repaired the toilets just last week after the theft of a cistern lid in the disabled cubicle and vandals broke a lock in another cubicle in August.

The town council said Sussex Police are aware of the vandalism. The council said it may consider putting up CCTV in the future. Anyone with any information should contact police on non-emergency line 101.

Police said they are investigating a recent series of incidents in Hailsham involving anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

They have included vandalism at public toilets and garden areas in the town, police said.

Sergeant Howard Nevill, of Hailsham police, said: “We are aware of these incidents and believe they may be linked to a group of youths aged 15 to 18.

“We are working with the town council and other agencies in an effort to identify and bring to justice those responsible.”

Environment Hailsham is hoping to attract sponsors to help it develop its floral and community work. Anyone interested in helping or sponsoring should contact Chairman Richard Grocock on 01323 842931.