Headstones defaced by vandals

TWO hundred year old headstones have been splattered with yellow paint in a display of vandalism in Bideford’s Old Town Park and Play Area.

Torridge District Council’s Clean Neighbourhoods Officer Dean Smith was on dog fouling patrol in the park and play area when he noticed the headstones around the perimeter of the amenity area had been defaced. A dog bin was also attacked and there was graffiti scribbled on the back of the adjacent fire station.

He was joined by Enviro-Crime Officer Andy Fenge, Neighbourhood Beat Manager PC Derek Broadribb and PCSO Paul Uden in a clean-up operation..

Local historian Peter Christie, who is also district councillor and trustee of the Bideford Bridge Trust, which owns the park and play area, said: “The Old Town park is an important part of the town’s history and heritage. It beggars belief that someone would deface these old headstones like this. It’s completely unacceptable and totally disrespectful.”

PC Broadribb said: “Since the Old Town Neighbourhood Watch scheme started, the crime rate has definitely gone down, but this sort of anti-social behaviour in the community needs to be stopped immediately. Our aim is to continue to patrol and monitor this and other nearby areas to ensure that the chances of this happening again are minimised.”

It is thought the vandalism occurred during the weekend of February 5-6. If anyone has any information about it they are asked to contact the police on 01237 428009 or Torridge District Council on 01237 428810.

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