Vehicle attacks spark criticism of security measures at BCP Council’s Wick Lane car park in Christchurch
A MOTHER cited a lack of security at a main Christchurch car park after vandals attacked hers and a fellow motorist’s vehicles.
BCP Council was slammed by Chloe Dowson (33), who discovered her Ford Fiesta had been targeted while parked in its Wick Lane facility last Tuesday night.
Returning to the vehicle around 8am the next day to drive her one-year-old daughter to nursery, she found its front driver’s side window smashed.
The handbrake had also been released, causing it to roll into the car park’s one-way system.
“I was devastated,” Miss Dowson told the A&T.
“I just didn’t understand the reason for it. It was just an act of mindless vandalism that doesn’t give them or me any results.
“I was also upset because my daughter was with me at the time and saw it.”
She praised a fellow mother, Kelly, who stopped to help before driving her son to school.
“Kelly’s son helped entertain my daughter as we tried to clear the glass and see whether I’d still be able to drive the car,” she continued.
“I managed to get to the nursery and move on, but I was very shaken.”
Miss Dowson had to take her father to hospital by public transport last Friday before the car window was repaired.
During the same night another motorist’s car was attacked, causing extensive damage to the steering column.
Posting on social media afterwards, the victim believed it was a failed attempt to steal it.
“We think the damage is so bad it’s a write-off,” they wrote.
“We are absolutely gutted, had a permit for this car park for years and never before had a problem.”
Both victims criticised what they saw to be a lack of security at the car park, which is used by many business workers and town centre visitors.
Miss Dowson said a CCTV operator and manager told her it was covered by two cameras – one at the main entrance and the other on the upper level behind the Regent Centre.
But she claimed the camera on the upper level, where the other car was damaged, was not working.
“The Regent Centre has a camera which captured four suspects damaging the other car,” Miss Dowson said.
“We can now pinpoint that this was 1.50am [last Wednesday morning]. This was the only way police could make any case.”
Pointing out she and her fellow victim each pay £60 per month for a parking season pass, she called for BCP Council to review the car park’s security.
Miss Dowson added the camera at the entrance did not cover the majority of spaces in the main section, where her vehicle was hit.
“It’s a main tourist destination car park and BCP has got no control of it – no [fully functioning] cameras. I think that is really damaging for them,” she said.
“A lot of people park there, but I think they’re now realising there’s no security – no one will want to park there.”
But BCP Council maintained it was covered by two working CCTV cameras and declined to comment further on reports one was broken.
A spokesperson said: “Wick Lane car park is split into three sections, covered by two working CCTV cameras, and whilst it's not possible to monitor every section of the car park at all times, our operators do also carry out visits.
“We have over 1,000 cameras on the public CCTV network and all camera locations can be found [online].
“We are working with the police on their enquiry into this act of criminal damage.”
Anyone with information about the incidents should contact officers online at dorset.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting crime reference number 55240012161 for the one on the car park’s upper level.
Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously at crimestoppers-uk.org or on 0800 555 111.