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Fire which caused 'extensive damage' to historic shelter in Felixstowe an 'unacceptable act of vandalism'

Officials have condemned a 'deliberate act of vandalism' which has caused 'extensive damage' to a historic shelter in Felixstowe .

East Suffolk Council has said it will cost in excess of £10,000 to repair the shelter on Felixstowe's South Seafront after a fire last week, which was only recently restored in a £150,000 project as part of the council's ongoing investment in the area.

Cllr Steve Gallant, leader of the council, said: “This appears to be a deliberate act of vandalism which is completely unacceptable and puts unnecessary pressure on our fire service at what is already a difficult time.

The fire in Felixstowe has caused extensive damage to the historic shelter. Picture: East Suffolk Council
The fire in Felixstowe has caused extensive damage to the historic shelter. Picture: East Suffolk Council

“The shelter was only recently restored to its former glory, meaning it could once again be enjoyed by local people and visitors alike. I have no doubt that they will be just as disappointed as me by this meaningless act."

"I want to make it very clear that this was not a victimless act – public money and time was spent on the restoration and will need to be spent on the repairs."

Mr Gallant said the taxpayer's money which will have to be used could have be spent elsewhere, so impacts everyone in the area – and even more so at a time when services are already stretched because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are determined to clamp down on this type of anti-social behaviour and would urge anyone with any information to contact the police so that investigations into the act can lead to the necessary action being taken," he added.

Meanwhile Cllr Mark Jespon, the mayor of Felixstowe, said he was 'shocked' by the 'wilful damage' to the iconic shelter.

He said: “We are fortunate to live in such a safe, clean and attractive place as Felixstowe so, like everybody I am shocked, saddened and frustrated by this wilful damage to one of our iconic seafront shelters.

"Vandalism and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and I have been in discussion with the police, who are taking the matter very seriously and currently investigating this as an arson incident.

“Whilst I am reassured that East Suffolk Council will be taking swift action to repair the shelter, it is also the responsibility of all of us to help keep our lovely town safe and report antisocial behaviour, wherever it occurs.

"Please do not hesitate to contact the police via 999 when ASB is happening, giving detailed descriptions of those involved, locations, any vehicle indexes and direction of travel wherever possible.”

Police are appealing for witnesses following the arson attack to the beach shelter on Sea Road, which happened between 11pm on Friday, October 9 and 12.25am on Saturday, October 10.

Officers said during the times stated, two bins within the building were set alight.

They have carried out a number of enquiries and are in the process of reviewing CCTV footage as the investigation continues.

If you can help, contact Felixstowe Safer Neighbourhood Team by calling 101, emailing Christopher.Garrod@suffolk.police.uk or visiting the Suffolk Police website , and quoting incident reference 37/58923/20.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form .

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

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