‘Best beach hut in Britain’ among those ripped apart by vandals

Many of the beach huts had been searched for valuables, sccording to reports form the public Picture

Many of the beach huts had been searched for valuables, sccording to reports form the public Picture: DIANE SMITH - Credit: Archant

“Mindless vandals” are being condemned by shocked onlookers after almost 50 beach huts were torn apart in Essex.

While some huts had been left undamaged or could not be broken into due to metal bars across doors,

While some huts had been left undamaged or could not be broken into due to metal bars across doors, others were ripped apart Picture: DIANE SMITH - Credit: Archant

The extensive damage to the huts in West End Lane, Dovercourt, was found by owners this morning, who were left to clear the debris in the rain and sleet.

One hut vandalised was the winner of Britain's Best Beach Hut 2016 - My Happy Hut was lovingly built by Essex-based artist Anna Davies and her three children after her husband died suddenly.

MORE: Former Felixstowe family 'delighted' to win Beach Hut of the Year 2016 after tragic loss

Some huts appeared to be ransacked, with doors broken and wall panels ripped apart.

Essex Police have been contacted regarding the criminal damage in West End Lane Picture: DIANE SMITH

Essex Police have been contacted regarding the criminal damage in West End Lane Picture: DIANE SMITH - Credit: Archant

Others had metal bars padlocked across the front and had not been damaged, but other locked huts had been broken into.

Commenting on pictures of the damage shared online, one person said: "These are people's pride and joy and lots of love and hard work goes into these huts.

"I can't comprehend what mindless idiots would do this.

Most Read

"To the beach hut owners, I am so sorry for your distress."

Almost 50 beach huts have been vandalised in Doovercourt overnight Picture: DIANE SMITH

Almost 50 beach huts have been vandalised in Doovercourt overnight Picture: DIANE SMITH - Credit: Archant

Another added: "What goes through your head when you are doing something as mindless and destructive as this?"

This is the first time they have been targeted in 2020, however there are frequent reports from the Harwich and Dovercourt Beach Hut Association of break-ins to holiday huts.

There were as many as six incidents of suspected vandalism reported by the hut owners, with calls for CCTV cameras to be installed to protect the properties.

The association was approached for comment.

One beach hut has sustained serious damage to its front after vandals broke in Picture: DIANE SMITH

One beach hut has sustained serious damage to its front after vandals broke in Picture: DIANE SMITH - Credit: Archant

Council 'deplores vandalism of any kind'

Tendring District Council have made steps to deter criminal activity in the area, installing LED lighting along the nearby promenade to West End Lane in October 2019.

A council spokesman said: "We deplore vandalism of any kind, including break-ins to beach huts, and urge anyone with information about who may have committed these crimes to contact the police.

"We regularly hold meetings with beach hut associations in Tendring, and preventing crime is a standing agenda item - no doubt we will be discussing this incident in more detail then."

There were six reports of vandalism on Dovercount and Harwich in 2019 Picture: DIANE SMITH

There were six reports of vandalism on Dovercount and Harwich in 2019 Picture: DIANE SMITH - Credit: Archant

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We were called at around 5.15am on February 27, about criminal damage to beach huts off West End Lane, Harwich.

"We received information that a number of beach huts were broken into and we continue to carry out enquiries."

Police asked anyone with information regarding the damage to call Clacton police station on 101 quoting incident 103 of February 27, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter