'Quiet' North Devon village frustrated by vandals

POLICE and parish councillors in Burrington are calling on the small community to help them to draw a line under an uncharacteristic spate of vandalism in the village in recent months. At the Burrington Parish Council annual meeting in May, police said th

POLICE and parish councillors in Burrington are calling on the small community to help them to draw a line under an uncharacteristic spate of vandalism in the village in recent months.

At the Burrington Parish Council annual meeting in May, police said that there had only been five reported crimes in the village during the previous 12 months; but since the meeting, vandals have been frustrating villagers by targeting the school, multi use games area (MUGA) and village hall.

Exterior lights on the MUGA were repeatedly broken off throughout April, May and June. They have also targeted the village hall, unscrewing the door handle, a sign, and notice board and "ripping up" the parish notices.

Around six birds' nests have been smashed down in a bus shelter next to Burrington Primary School, while at the school, a tarpaulin cover on the pupils' forest school garden project has been set alight. During the same weekend, foundation trenches dug by builders working at the school were flooded after a hosepipe was turned on and left to run.


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School head teacher Jean Cobbett said that the two incidents at the school were the only ones she had had to report in three years' teaching at the school.

"It's mindless vandalism and quite concerning that people are trying to set fire to things at the school," she said.

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The MUGA was opened in 2001 with money gained through a combination of grant applications and fund-raising initiatives by the parish council.

Council chairman John Short called the acts "petty vandalism": "I'm not saying that over the years we haven't had problems, but these incidents have all happened within the last couple of months.

"I do understand that young people can get bored sometimes but at the end of the day, they should understand the hard work that went into providing these facilities in the first place.

"The trouble is that we fix one thing and they break something else; we're spending money fixing things that could be spent on providing more facilities in the future," he added.

PCSO Jerzy Rozputynski of South Molton Police Station said that although Burrington was a "quiet village", problems had escalated in the last two months.

"The kids around here are good and there are not normally any real issues," he said.

"But the minor problems with vandalism have accumulated. Small problems get noticed and we want to nip this in the bud before things get any worse.

"All we ask is that the community works together on this one; if you see anyone acting suspicious, please give the police a call."

Anyone with any information about the vandalism can contact PCSO Rozputynski or Neighbourhood Beat Manager PC Julie Chapman on (01769) 575053 or 08452 777444.

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