‘Best beach hut in Britain’ among those ripped apart by vandals
- Credit: Archant
“Mindless vandals” are being condemned by shocked onlookers after almost 50 beach huts were torn apart in Essex.
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.
Some huts appeared to be ransacked, with doors broken and wall panels ripped apart.
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.
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"To the beach hut owners, I am so sorry for your distress."
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.
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."
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.