“We can’t just leave this to the police, we have to step up our game” – this is the rallying call of a volunteer group after vandals caused £1,800 worth of damage at Shoreham fort.
Police confirmed that several large pieces of brick and concrete were broken off from a gun slot at the fort on Monday, September 18.
The damage, which police described as ‘serious and permanent’, is the latest act of vandalism in a string of incidences at the fort over the last few months.
Gary Baines, chairman of the Friends of Shoreham Fort, said repairs to the historic gun slots would cost an estimated £18,000.
He is calling for members of the public to attend the next Heritage Crime Surgery which will be held at the fort on Tuesday, October 31, with presentations at midday and 2pm from Daryl Holter, Sussex Police’s Heritage Crime Officer, to find out what they can do to help.
Mr Baines said: “We can’t urge people enough to come along and find out more, not just about what’s happening at the fort but about heritage crime in general.”
On why the fort has been repeatedly targeted, he said: “It’s open to the public 24 hours a day, it’s not overlooked by anything and people are left to do what they want when they want.”
The Friends of Shoreham Fort are trying to encourage people to walk their dogs up by the fort in an effort to make the site busier. “It’s a lovely walk over there,” he said.
“Even if it’s just once a week, people being there should prevent the damage.”
Mr Holter said: “The fort is a scheduled ancient monument and is an important part of local, national and international history, it is also the last fort of its kind.
“Sadly the fort, as well and many other heritage sites in Sussex have been subject to increased heritage crime.
“The purpose of these surgeries is to engage with the wider community sharing knowledge and ideas on how these crimes can be tackled.
“Networking between venues of historical significance is invaluable and the sharing of information regarding heritage crimes is critical as this is shared and can be collated nationally.”