Wick vandals strike again as toilets are smashed
COUNCILLORS say they are appalled by the latest outbreak of vandalism in Wick in which the public toilets at Whitechapel Road were targeted.
An image posted on social media shows all the mirrors smashed to pieces, with shards of glass lying in the wash-hand basins and on the floor, and a large brick – presumably used in the attack – lying close by.
Highland Council has recently allowed the toilets to be left open overnight with little monitoring of the facility. No comment was forthcoming from the council on the vandalism by the time the John O'Groat Journal went to press.
The Caithness civic leader, Councillor Willie Mackay, said: "I cannot understand the mentality of these culprits who have wrecked the toilet facilities at Whitechapel.
"This is a small town and it can't take too much to find out who the offenders are. I appeal to anyone who has information which could lead to their arrest to contact the Crimestoppers confidential hotline.
"I would certainly support an idea that these toilets will have now have to close overnight."
Councillor Mackay added that "there is an unwanted element of destruction around Wick which is just not good enough and it has got to stop".
Another Wick and East Caithness councillor, Nicola Sinclair, said the vandalism in Wick was "getting out of hand now". She has contacted police in the hope of an "increased presence" in the blighted areas.
Councillor Sinclair said: "Like the rest of the community I am appalled by this latest spate of vandalism. I have repeated my previous requests to the police to increase their presence to tackle these ongoing and escalating problems in Wick."
She said she had asked about the costs of a remote locking system and security camera as part of the "forthcoming refurbishment of the Whitechapel toilets".
"However, with budgets such as they are, we can’t keep picking up the tab for this terrible behaviour. As local members, we’ll do all we can to address it and we’re grateful to the public for continuing to highlight the problem and pass on any information to the police."
Phil Plummer from Wick, commenting on Facebook, said: "Catch them and make them clean it for a month as punishment." John Macgregor called for sterner measures with use of the birch as a deterrent.
Brian Steele from Wick said that the toilets were frequently "in a mess" and claimed to have seen used condoms and toilet paper strewn on the floor and even blood sprayed on walls. "It’s not fit for use and they smell of urine. The council need to start charging 50p [entry]."
Wick man David Mackinnon said that youngsters of both sexes are often together in the men's toilet at the weekends. "For the past few weeks now there [have] been a lot of youngsters in the men's toilet and a lot of them look like they are under age of 16," he wrote.
"I have been put way off going to use the toilet as they [are] smoking something."
Mr Mackinnon claimed to have seen a "mix of over 15 boys and girls" hanging out in the gents' toilet at Whitechapel Road.
Another Wick man, who asked not be named, said the kids were "getting away with blue murder" and making the place "hellish" for others to live in.
The Groat previously highlighted public concerns over the recent swathe of vandalism in Wick which saw a trail of destruction taking place on a half-mile stretch in the riverside area.