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The vandals who cost you money

PUBLISHED: 16:25 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 July 2010

LEISURE centre bosses are looking for a hi-tech security solution to keep a lid on vandalism at Great Yarmouth's Marina Centre.

Manager Wayne Nixon said taxpayers were having to pay out to replace smashed windows alone and that the problem was getting worse.

LEISURE centre bosses are looking for a hi-tech security solution to keep a lid on vandalism at Great Yarmouth's Marina Centre.

Manager Wayne Nixon said taxpayers were having to pay out to replace smashed windows alone and that the problem was getting worse. Four windows at the seafront leisure centre were smashed overnight a couple of weeks ago, bringing the total to seven.

He told the Mercury the borough council had spent £9000 replacing broken windows last year and the figure was looking to be the same again this year.

He said: “The problem tends to get worse in the summer months when the kids get bored and if they see a window is already smashed it encourages them to break others.”

Windows targeted are those in the swimming pool area which faces the beach and Mr Nixon said it was “unsightly” for centre users.

“We have to board the windows up for safety but it doesn't look great,” he said.

The windows are made up of two panes of glass but only exterior panes have been broken. If the interior panes were smashed the centre would have no option but to close the pool, which attracts more than 90,000 swimmers a year.

Mr Nixon said the pool would be able to stay open while the exterior glass is replaced, which costs between £600 and £800.

Mr Nixon said the £9000 spent on replacing windows could be spent on improving the centre.

“The council has a pot of money set aside each year for maintenance to the building. Any money left over can be spent on improving the building. Just imagine what £9000 could do we could have a new carpet in the gym or improve the toilet facilities but instead we are replacing windows. This is a cost we should not have to be paying.”

The centre, managed by a trust on behalf of the council which owns the site, is now looking at installing powerful sensor lights at the back of the building in a bid to combat the rising vandalism.

“I imagine kids are standing on the beach and throwing stones at the windows but when it's dark you can see little on the beach,” said Mr Nixon. He added the centre was also considering installing CCTV.

Pictures: Laura Bagshaw

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