Picture caption: Representatives from EDDC and an Exmouth school stand together - bullying will not be tolerated. 
Picture caption: Representatives from EDDC and an Exmouth school stand together - bullying will not be tolerated.

Exmouth parents have been called upon to speak to their children about ‘mindless’ bullying, following three back-to-back incidents in the town.

The community shelter in Phear Park has frequently been targeted by vandals in the past, but in the last week nasty and victimising comments were written about a number of children.

Despite swift action by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Streetscene team to remove it, the vandals returned twice more.

So far, the incidents have happened between 3pm and 5pm on weekdays. EDDC is now looking to remove the shelter, if the issue cannot be resolved. If you see anything suspicious in the area, or have witnessed the vandals in action, please contact EDDC with any pictures or descriptions you have by emailing communications@eastdevon.gov.uk.

The shelter has now had to be repainted for a second time (and will need to be for a third time) – meaning the incidents have racked up a bill costing several hundreds of pounds in labour and material – a waste of tax payers’ money.

In addition to this, the toilets at the park were targeted and some benches were also damaged and appeared to have been kicked until they broke.

EDDC workers are now joining forces with local agencies in Exmouth to crack down on the malicious graffiti, as part of Anti-Bullying Week 2022 which began on Monday, 14 November.

EDDC’s area officer for Exmouth, Peter Crofts, has recruited support from a local school, where we believe a number of the children attend, and have contacted the local police department, while calling on parents to look for solutions to put a stop to these intimidating scrawls.

Peter said:

It’s very disappointing that a minority of people can cause such alarm and distress with graffiti of such personal and directed content.

This kind of mindless bullying behaviour is totally unacceptable in this day and age.

It is also costing EDDC a lot of time and money to be continually painting over these harmful words.

As it is anti-bullying week, we felt this was a perfect time to get together and work on a strategy to show those individuals that intimidating and bullying behaviour will not be tolerated in Exmouth.

I would like to urge members of the public to report any illegal activities witnessed to the police, in order help identify the culprits and put a stop to this anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder for the coast, country and environment, added:

We are taking a multi-agency approach in order to keep this community facility open and graffiti-free.

The EDDC Streetscene team works hard to keep Phear Park a family-friendly space for all to enjoy and, with the support of the local community, will continue to provide a safe and tranquil green space for the town of Exmouth.

Anti-Bullying Week 2022 is coordinated in England and Wales by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. It will take place from 14 to 18 November 2022.

This year’s theme is ‘Reach Out’ and encourages everyone do something positive to counter the harm and hurt that bullying causes.