‘Bring back National Service’

Say fed up residents who want vandals dealt harsher punishments.

VANDALISM is a crime and the system has gone soft on offenders.

That is the view of many Midweek Herald readers, who want those convicted of criminal damage handed tougher punishments.

During a survey of shoppers in Axminster last week, many said penalties do not go far enough and are not seen as a deterrent by offenders.

Ronald Woodcock, 73, of Northleigh, said: “There should definitely be 100 per cent tougher punishments for vandals. They should be made to clear up, which would help.

“I think they should be put in the forces for a limited period - not two years, but three to six months. Discipline would help.”

Chris Sweetland, 65, of Axminster, said: “I think there should be more punishments. They should certainly repair and pay for the damage.

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“With isolated incidents of vandalism, I think they do it because it is there.

“Half the time, they don’t think about it when they deliberately key people’s cars.

“They should be put on community orders.”

Janet Gollop, 59, of Axminster, said: “Punishments for vandalism are not tough enough. There is no deterrent and more needs to be done.

“I don’t think people have any respect any more.

“When I was younger, I got a clip round the ear from a policeman for riding my bike in the dark.

“He said, if I ever did it again, he would tell my mother - I never did it again.

“There is just no respect any more and it’s just going to get worse.

“We need more services for young people.

“Borstal was a frightening thing for kids when I was younger, but you haven’t got that now.

“This behaviour needs to be stopped when they are young, before it goes too far.”

Jo Driscoll, 76, of Axminster said: “The trouble is, parents are afraid to say anything to their kids to nip the behaviour in the bud.

“National Service did a lot of good.

“There is no respect and there is too much drink around.

“Vandals should be named and shamed. It is a difficult one, whether punishments are tough enough, but I think, generally, people do get away with far too much.”

Terry Gilbert, 49, of Charmouth, said: “The punishments are mixed. In some ways, it is ridiculous - as the system is being too lenient.

“There is not enough of a deterrent to put people off.

“Community orders are a good thing, but I think vandals should be made to do more hours as they are putting something back in to the community.

“I don’t think there is a lot of respect for people’s property.”

Peter Mills, 62, of Axminster, said: “No, punishments are probably not tough enough.

“I think youngsters need more to do.

“The police cuts are not going to help.”

Jan Thatcher, 64, of Ottery St Mary, said: “The system needs to do something.

“Vandals should be made to do community service - to put right what they have done.

“I think they need to do something particularly unpleasant – it shouldn’t be a holiday.”

Give kids support

Muriel Smith, 73, of Axminster, said: “I think the punishments are fine.

“When they do these things, they don’t think about it and, when they drink, they don’t know what they are doing.

“People have not got the respect.”

Her daughter, Yvette Ortel, 51, added: “A lot of young people may be suffering domestic abuse and take their anger and frustration out in different ways.

“More needs to be done to address the underlying problems.”

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