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'Ridiculous' raid on 21 beach huts costs owners thousands as thieves escape with coffee, tea, cushions and towels

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The mess inside Roy Edwin's Barton beach hut following the raid
The mess inside Roy Edwin's Barton beach hut following the raid

MORE than 20 Barton beach huts were ransacked causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in a “ridiculous” raid which saw the thieves flee with only coffee, tea, cushions and towels.

Offenders targeted at least 21 huts last Friday night, leaving many exposed to the heavy rain and strong winds lashing the area at the time.

One, owned by local 75-year-old Roy Edwin and his wife Pam (73), had its panels ripped away from the entire 9ft length of one of the side walls, creating a large enough gap for them to climb inside.

Having ransacked the hut and searched the cupboards and drawers, the raiders made off with towels and cushions.

Although Roy managed to quickly patch up the damage by hammering panels back in place to make the hut watertight, it had already suffered from the rain getting in.

Panels were pulled off the outside of Roy's hut
Panels were pulled off the outside of Roy's hut

In addition to the couple’s towels and cushions, he told the A&T he had heard “hardly anything” of value had been stolen from the other huts. Owners had reported only items such as tea and coffee being missing.

“It was just ridiculous that they would even break in for these items,” Roy said. “To do all that damage, which is thousands of pounds worth, for nothing.

“Most of the people that own the huts are quite elderly, so it’s a bit of a shock for them really.”

Having retired from the midlands, the couple have owned their hut at Barton for about six years. Despite other people’s having been vandalised before during that period, this was the first time theirs was hit.

Ron added: “Others are less fortunate than us – at least we’re insured. There’s a lot of others who have to employ people – carpenters and so on – which will cost a lot of money.

“Apparently the New Forest council actually employ a security company to check the beach huts occasionally, but I don’t think they do it at night.

“The police can’t do anything, can they? One guy on a bike and one PCSO in Barton can’t stop a load of guys going down there around three in the morning!”

Barton ward councillor Alan O’Sullivan expressed his anger at the attacks on the beach huts during Monday’s virtual New Milton Town Council meeting, branding the damage “mindless”. He also called for those responsible to face a heavier penalty than “a slap on the wrists” if caught.

Police are investigating the raids, and a spokesperson for the Hampshire force said the local neighbourhood team had been carrying out extra patrols of the area.

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