Get tough call after latest Axminster pool attack

Bill for repairs and losses now tops �5,000 after fifth break in at the Flamingo Pool

ANGRY officials at Axminster’s Flamingo Pool are calling for tougher penalties to deter young thugs after they smashed their way into the building for a fifth time.

In the latest attack they used rocks to batter their way through the main glass doors and then attacked, and wrecked, a drinks vending machine in the foyer.

Unable to access the cash box they fled with just two ice creams taken from an unlocked freezer – leaving behind a damage bill for more than �1,200.

This week police were studying CCTV picture of the intruders, thought to be aged between 15 and 17, and say they have some possible names of people they want to interview.

But Pool manager Steve Buxton says the threat of being caught seems to have little affect on the young villains.

He said after four previous break-ins last year the total cost of the damage and thefts had now topped �5,000.

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“At first they broke in for the vending machines and cash but once we tightened that up they came in and smashed the place up just for the hell of it,” he said.

“A couple were caught and given a wrap over knuckles but it doesn’t stop them.”

Mr Buxton said the pool – a charity funded by voluntary donations with no external grants - was insured but the break-ins affected their premiums and caused a huge amount of distress and extra paperwork.

“There s also the loss of income from the Coke machine,” he added.

“Our customers are so angry about it.”

• Cases of criminal damage are on the increase in Axminster, police have confirmed.

PCSO Andy Trott told the town council, this week, that despite a general fall in crime figures over the past year – down from 455 to 388 - incidents of wanton damage were up from 87 to 99.

He said it was their biggest problem at this time of year – often involving attacks on cars by people having drunk “one too many”.