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Big rise in vandalism and fire-raising in public toilets across Highlands

By Gavin Musgrove

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The region's public toilets have been targeted by vandals and fire-raisers.
The region's public toilets have been targeted by vandals and fire-raisers.

A significant rise in vandalism and fire-raising at public toilets across the Highlands has prompted an appeal to the public to report vandals to the police.

There has been a significant rise in the amount of vandalism particularly fire raising at numerous public toilets across the region over the past two months including Station Brae, Fort William; in Thurso; at Strathpeffer and in Alness.

Highland Council has said the facilities offer a vital service to many people including delivery drivers, key workers in the NHS and care services, and having to close them to deal with vandalism impacts on the public

Debbie Sutton, Highland Council’s amenity services manager, said: “We ask people to be respectful of the facilities and report any concerns over misuse.

"Some facilities are locally-run by the community so the vandals are simply damaging the efforts of their own families, friends, and neighbours.

“Graffiti and fire raising while not only criminal is a total waste of taxpayers’ money and diverts resources from council works and services.

"It's vital that our public toilets are safeguarded and no more are lost before the 2022 tourism season begins.

“We urge anyone with information on vandalism in their local public toilets to contact police on 101 or to phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Police Superintendent Maggie Pettigrew said: “We are acutely aware of the disruptive impact antisocial behaviour and associated issues such as vandalism has on a community.

“Local officers work closely with partners to address these issues and find meaningful long-term solutions to prevent these issues from arising.

“We also work identify those involved where offences are identified.

“Vandalism like this is at the very least mindless and has the potential to result in far more serious consequences.

“We would urge anyone with information about vandalism or fire-raising to contact us by calling 101.”

Area Commander Derek Wilson is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Highland.

He said: “Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties.

"They are a needless drain on emergency service resources at a difficult time.

“Our firefighters and community action teams have been and will continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages.

"We also ask parents, guardians, and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting."

For more safety information click here.

Anyone who witness vandalism can report incidents to Police on 101 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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