Vandals attack angling lake

Chairman of  Shotton & District Angling Club Stephen Maitland with the remains of the disabled fishing platform

Chairman of Shotton & District Angling Club Stephen Maitland with the remains of the disabled fishing platform

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VANDALS have targeted an angling club again by ripping up and burning a facility for disabled people.

Shotton and District Angling Club chairman Stephen Maitland was confronted with the damage when he held a site meeting with a Durham County councillor to discuss ongoing vandalism problems.

The platform, called a peg, was built with £64,000 of lottery funding awarded to the club several years ago.

Mr Maitland hit out at the “demoralising” damage which comes just days before the start of the new angling match season.

He said: “Vandals have taken all the timbers off then built them in a pile and set fire to them.

“It’s just left a total mess.

“It was screwed down so they must have used some kind of tools to loosen them.

“It is demoralising. It has been an ongoing uphill battle.”

The peg, which cost £2,500 to build, is one of four platforms that makes the lake accessible for wheelchair users.

The club has 27 members who are registered disabled.

Mr Maitland said the attack is the latest in a series of anti-social problems that have blighted the fishing lake.

He believes they are to blame for a dramatic drop in club membership, which has fallen from 438 to 142 over the last decade.

Mr Maitland added: “The drug abuse is absolutely horrendous. We have problems with quad bikes and motorbikes on footpaths, fly-tipping and people using air rifles.

“Swans, geese and ducks have been killed.

“A sign was stolen last year, presumably by metal thieves.”

Mr Maitland, who is also membership secretary for the club, said they have regular meetings with local police to try and keep trespassers off the site.

He said: “They are doing quite a vigilant job, but they can’t be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”