Home   Deal   News   Article

Action launched to combat damage to historic buildings

Western Heights, Dover
Western Heights, Dover

by Graham Tutthillgtutthill@thekmgroup.co.uk

A nationwide campaign to prevent damage to historic buildings has been launched in Dover.

The Drop Redoubt on the Western Heights was chosen as the venue for the launch because of its uniqueness, and the damage that vandals, and others, have been causing to the structure.

The authorities say that people may not realise the full impact of their actions when they use hammers to dislodge stonework, spray graffiti over a 150-year-old wall, or drive nails and screws into bricks to try and gain access to other parts of the monument.

But archaeologist Dr Andrew Richardson and police Chief Inspector Mark Harrison are in no doubt about the implications, and those responsible are being warned they face heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences.

Offences are taking place at the Western Heights on a weekly basis, along with various unsavoury activities such as drug-dealing and sexual activity.

Incidents have included spraying graffiti on the walls and several extreme attempts to break in, although there is nothing of value inside to steal. Concrete-block walls have been knocked down and car jacks and even oxy-acetylene torches have been used.

Dr Richardson, a member of Canterbury Archaeological Trust and Dover District Council, is already drawing up impact statements to produce to magistrates and Crown Court judges about the effect of damage on historic buildings for when cases come to court.

"With graffiti, for example, we can attempt to clean it off but that’s only partially successful," he said.

"Particularly with old porous brickwork it can be almost impossible to completely remove it without causing damage to the fabric itself. So what they are doing is causing potentially irreversible harm to our heritage.

"People may think they are having a bit of fun without realising they are causing damage to something that has stood here for hundreds of years."

Such crimes will now be tackled in a much more co-ordinated way through a new initiative launched by English Heritage but which, locally, also involves the police, White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, Western Heights Preservation Society and the district council.

People are being encouraged to be aware of the risk of criminal damage to historic sites and buildings in their area and to report suspicious behaviours to their neighbourhood policing teams.

Full story in the Dover Mercury, February 17 edition.

Keep up-to-date with news via the Dover Mercury Facebook page and Twitter.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More