VANDALS WHO HAVE been causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in Moray communities will be facing a new determination to halt their activities from today.
With an increase in vandalism in the region of almost a quarter over the last year – 90 more reported incidents – police in Moray are determined to crack down on the culprits.
Part of the increase in pressure on vandals will come through a joint initiative with Moray Council’s antisocial behaviour team, with ‘Operation Regard’ starting out in Forres before being rolled out throughout the region.
Inspector Paul McCruden, who is based in Forres, said: “When you realise there is a rise in vandalism it is important for us to take action to address that. We know that vandalism affects the quality of life for those who stay in our communities – it is not just the annoying aspect of having property vandalised, it is the financial aspect as well.”
Parts of Moray affected most by the increase in vandalism includes Elgin, Keith, Portgordon and Cullen. A member of the police and fire and rescue services committee is Councillor Douglas Ross, who said: “Any efforts we can make in partnership have to be a good thing to try and tackle vandalism.”
Chair of that committee is Councillor Ron Shepherd: “I would urge residents to remain vigilant to safeguard our towns, report any incidents they may discover and help those involved in Operation Regard to stamp out this business once and for all.”
One of the most serious recent incidents saw decorative hanging floral baskets in Keith being torn from their mountings, damage that will cost £400 to put right. Vandalism in Lossiemouth has also been a continual concern for community leaders who have now taken control of locking local toilet blocks overnight because of repeated attacks.
Earlier this year Cullen residents were left shocked after large areas of woodland was deliberately set on fire. Few towns or villages in Moray appear to have escaped the growing trend of vandalism – and that has led to the greater urgency to fight back.