Seaside vandals are accused of putting lives at risk

North Denes Coastwatch tower in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass

North Denes Coastwatch tower in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Lives have been put at risk after teenage vandals ripped out an emergency telephone in Great Yarmouth.

Furious Coastwatch volunteers who arrived at their early shift on Saturday morning said they were bewildered and devastated by the mindless vandalism that confronted them.

CCTV footage has revealed that three youngsters seen loitering around the seaside station on North Denes were behind the attack.

Jan Goddard, deputy controller at North Denes, said: 'We have an emergency telephone box and on Saturday three youngsters started loitering around.

'They attempted to get into the tower which has a heavy steel door and a key pad and then they started to play around with the emergency phone.

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'Then one of the girls in the group just grabbed hold of the mouth piece and ripped it out. We later found it on the dunes.

'I cannot believe that somebody would do that. We have had the life-saving torpedo stolen off the front but the phone could have meant the difference between life and death.

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'It is in a bright orange box and it is there for all sorts of emergencies whether out to sea or if somebody collapsed on the floor.'

The attack happened at around 6pm, two hours after the tower had closed.

Undeterred by the security lighting which flicked on as they approached the trio are seen trying to force their way in to the building, turning their attention to the phone when they are unable to gain entry.

'They pulled and pulled at the door of the tower and then decided to have a go at the phone,' Mrs Goddard added. 'I just do not understand it. It is totally and utterly bewildering. I cannot understand the mentality of someone who would do that. What fun are they getting out of it?'

Expensive satellite tracking equipment which backs up the human eyes scanning the seas has been protected by CCTV for about a year since the group was awarded funding from the National Lottery.

The tower, a former Coastguard station, is owned by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

However the sea safety volunteers will have to foot the bill for damage and repairs taking vital funds from its crucial work.

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