Beach huts vandalised on Shoebury seafront

Beach huts have been ransacked and left badly damaged in a vandalism spree.

Seven huts, on Shoebury Common beach, suffered serious damage, with holes punched in doors and panels pulled off.

Campaigners have described the attacks as “an annual problem” and lamented the lack of CCTV to help prevent crime.

Steve Buxley, from the Southend Beach Hut Owners’ Association, said about seven huts were damaged between last Thursday and Sunday.

He added: “It does seem it could be the same individuals doing it. They seem to be targeting huts with new UPVC doors. There was some ransacking going on and various items were stolen.

“Owners who were broken into reported it to police but nothing will happen.”

Peter Grubb, owner of Uncle Tom’s Cabin cafe, on Shoebury Common, is one of the hut owners but his property escaped any damage.

Mr Grubb said: “It’s an annual problem.

“It’s terrible for the people who have invested in them. Some have spent a fortune fitting them out with fitted kitchens.

“There is a pedestal for a CCTV camera that went up about a fortnight ago but it has no camera on it.

“If the huts were in sight of the camera that would be useful but as usual, we are the forgotten part of the town.”

Martin Terry, Southend councillor responsible for public safety, said there had been a delay in installing CCTV cameras across the town.

He said: “It’s partly a supply chain issue affecting all industries with digital components for CCTV. Some are up and running but the programme is running behind.

“We had fibre optics and poles up quickly but it’s down to something that’s affecting industry everywhere at the moment.”

Some residents took to the Shoeburyness’ Residents Association Facebook page to express their disgust.

Julie Merrin said: “I can’t see what they get out of it. When I was a kid I was far from perfect in lots of people’s eyes but my misbehaving was scrumping or climbing over a fence to steal a couple of empty pop bottles to get the 3p back on them.

Lily Spencer said: “Heartbreaking, people can’t have anything these days without some scum bags spoiling it, they need locking up, it’s disgusting.”

Jan Oztun Ali added: “So sad that something that has given some families three generations of pleasure should be damaged in this way.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter