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News

Clarity of CCTV image helps convict teenage vandal.

Mendip Council : 03 March, 2008  (Company News)
Surveillance system in Mendip captures youths damaging new award-winning council toilet block leading to a successful conviction.
Clarity of CCTV image helps convict teenage vandal.
Mendip's CCTV system has helped prosecute a teenager who was caught vandalising one of the district's award-winning toilets.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was filmed on a Mendip District Council camera damaging the new five-star toilets in the Market Yard car park, Frome.

The youth pleaded guilty to criminal damage when he appeared before South Somerset Youth Court. He has now been sentenced to a referral order for three months and told to pay £30 towards the prosecution costs and £50 compensation.

The successful prosecution by Mendip District Council, working in partnership with local police, has been welcomed by council leader Cllr Harvey Siggs, who said the council will not tolerate anti-social behaviour.

He said: "This case demonstrates that the council takes vandalism and other forms of anti-social behaviour very seriously and will not tolerate those people who thoughtlessly damage community facilities, and cost the taxpayer who has to pick up the repair bill. It's also encouraging that the council's CCTV system was able to play a big part in capturing this teenager.

"This should send out a warning to everyone that we are continuing our fight against anti-social behaviour and where we are able to prosecute then we will."

The incident happened in November last year just nine months after the toilets had been opened as part of a £269,000 revamp of the Market Yard car park.

CCTV images taken during the incident clearly showed the face of the prosecuted youth, and the face of another who was cautioned by police.

Stuart Finney, the council's asset maintenance officer, said: "CCTV has played an integral part in capturing this youth and bringing a successful prosecution. It was important that we were able to identify this youth who had damaged these award-winning toilets just a few months after they had been opened."

The local community in Frome has also welcomed the news that CCTV is playing a major community safety role in the town.

Cllr Karen Harvey, who is a district councillor for the Frome Market ward, said: "Clearly our CCTV cameras can identify you and will continue to monitor those who cause problems in our towns."

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