July 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Town officials have expressed their “disappointment” after vandals targeted Swaffham’s public toilets three times in the last two weeks.
The ladies’ toilets on Market Place were broken into twice, first on December 27 and then again over the weekend, leaving the facilities in need of a new lock and possibly a new door.
Vandals also painted offensive language in red gloss paint on all four walls of two of the cubicles in the men’s toilets. The damage was discovered on Monday, December 30, and the toilets had to be closed for 24 hours while a clean-up operation took place.
Both toilets, which are near the bus stop and are the only public facilities in the town, are now back open but their operating hours have been restricted to help tackle the problem.
It is not yet known how much the repair work will cost but the money will come out of the public purse.
Town clerk Richard Bishop said: “Whether or not the incidents are related, we don’t know. It is disappointing. It’s a public service and we want to keep that service open to the public as long as possible but these situations make life difficult.
“It reflects badly on the town when you have a small minority of people causing these problems. Everyone who uses those toilets in the right manner suffers.”
He added: “We can’t claim for these crimes on insurance because most of the costs are under the excess so they are going to directly affect the cost of running the toilets and all costs will be borne by the council tax payers.”
The toilets are currently closed from 4pm, instead of 6pm, but it is hoped the restricted hours will be lifted once the issue has been resolved and a strategy has been put in place to help prevent further incidents arising.
A police investigation is taking place.
Mr Bishop said: “Ninety-nine per cent of people who use those toilets use them in the right manner, that’s the shame of it.
“Those toilets are as good as the last person who left them and it’s not fair on the people who are unlucky enough to use them after this sort of damage has been done. I wouldn’t want a child to see the abusive language which was in there – it was horrible.”
Mr Bishop said the town council would be discussing the matter in more detail at their meeting this evening at the Town Hall from 6.45pm.
A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed the crimes had been reported and asked witnesses to call Swaffham’s Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.