St Annes statue damage prompts pledge to clamp down on vandals

Fylde civic leaders have united in their disgust at an “appalling” act of vandalism.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 3:45 pm

Vandals knocked the head off a statue in Ashton Gardens, St Annes in broad daylight.

The shocking incident involving the long-standing feature of the town centre park’s rose garden has followed several other acts of vandalism around Fylde, including damage to the shelter at Lytham windmill, after which police upped patrols in the area.

It has prompted Fylde Council leader Coun Karen Buckley to declare “enough is enough” – and she has pledged that the council will do everything possible to tackle such anti-social behaviour.

'Why do people behave like this?' - Coun Karen Buckley at the scene of the damaged statue in Ashton Gardens

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“I arranged to meet the Area Police Inspector who confirmed to me that an investigation was under way and we went together to Ashton Gardens to review the CCTV provision.

“I’m aware that further anti-social behaviour has been captured on film and is with the police so I’m hopeful that the perpetrators will be found and dealt with.

“Wrecking our parks or causing damage to public property is unacceptable and action will continue to be taken by the council to prevent and deter the anti-social behaviour, such as extra CCTV, anti-vandal paint, and additional lighting as has been installed elsewhere.

Coun Buckley at the scene

“Residents are dismayed by this recent spate of loutish behaviour in Lytham and St Annes which has increased since the Covid restrictions have eased.

“Our parks and open spaces are beautifully kept by our staff and volunteers and are there for us all to enjoy and should be a place to feel safe.

“Our residents pay for that high standard through their council tax and police precept and want to see action taken.

“I am hopeful that the anticipated increase in front-line Policing will make a real difference in Fylde.

The statue is a long-standing feature of the rose garden in St Annes' Ashton Gardens

“With regards the broken statue in the rose garden, the council has already identified a stonemason to undertake the repairs and these will be carried out as soon as possible.”

St Annes Town Council chairman Coun Gavin Harrison, who is also a Fylde councillor for the Ashton ward which includes the Gardens, said: “These Gardens bring a huge amount of pleasure to many residents and visitors and it is inconceivable that anyone would want to cause such wanton damage.

“I hope those who did this are identified and held to account for their actions.

“We also need to try and understand why they choose to behave in this way and what other more acceptable choices could be offered so that they can spend their time more positively.

“I am working with fellow councillors and police to provide additional CCTV coverage and increased patrols within this area to tackle this ongoing problem.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “We have seen some examples of absolutely mindless vandalism. We are very lucky to live in an area where people take pride in their properties and work towards improving the wider community.

“It is a shame there appears to be a tiny minority hell-bent on vandalism.

“We need more action from the police to tackle these issues and to provide a deterrent.”

The incident in Ashton Gardens happened last Thursday, June 3,and was officially reported by PCSO Damian Rowe.

He said: “They have potentially used some sort of device to take the head off, because it is quite a solid statue. You would need some heavy blunt force to take the head off, so they may have used something to remove it.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting log number LC-20210604-0485.

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