‘Mindless damage’ forces Hartlepool park toilet closure after four attacks in six months

Friends of Rossmere Park (left to right) Stephen Taylor, Phillip Broughton and Sydney Elsop outside the closed toilets in the park. Picture by FRANK REID
Friends of Rossmere Park (left to right) Stephen Taylor, Phillip Broughton and Sydney Elsop outside the closed toilets in the park. Picture by FRANK REID
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Visitors to a Hartlepool park have been unable to use its toilets for over two months after being targeted by vandals for the fourth time in just six months.

People caught short in Rossmere Park have been left with nowhere to go since the middle of January after a fire which caused substantial damage.

The closed toilets in the Rossmere Park. Picture by FRANK REID

The closed toilets in the Rossmere Park. Picture by FRANK REID

The Friends of Rossmere residents’ group says it has had reports of children using the bushes.

It has expressed its frustration to the council at the length of time the toilets have been out of action.

Hartlepool Borough Council has appealed to the public for help in tacking the “mindless” vandalism.

A spokesman said: “Despite on-going financial pressures, we always try to repair damage resulting from vandalism as quickly as possible, particularly where public facilities are affected. However, we are sometimes reliant on the support of partner organisations to enable us to complete works.

“On January 18 this year a fire which originated in the storage room housing the electrical isolation board, caused extensive damage to the interior of the toilet block and necessitated the isolation of the electrical supply.

“Works to repair the plumbing and the interior fabric of the building have been completed and we are awaiting re-connection of the electrical supply before the building can be safely re-opened.

“Sadly, this is not an isolated case and there has been a series of incidents in recent years.”

In November 2013 the toilet block was burnt out and had to undergo complete refurbishment. Last August the toilets were vandalised when damage was caused to water pipes. Then in November, the baby changing unit in the ladies was set on fire and the locks to the toilets were damaged in December.

The council spokesman added: “We would ask members of the public to help us tackle such mindless, destructive acts by remaining vigilant at all times and reporting incidents or suspicious activity within the park to the police.”

Residents have called for tighter security.

Stephen Taylor, chair of the Friends of Rossmere group, said the toilets were particularly needed as the park holds a Park Run, attended by up to 70 people, every Sunday.

He said: “It’s just absolutely ridiculous. People are outraged. Taxi drivers are also constantly stopping and trying to use them but they can’t.”