Vandals on rampage

PUBLISHED: 11:25 15 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 May 2010

Cllr Val Trueman in the building she wanted to turn into an internet café – Pic: Daniel Wilson

Cllr Val Trueman in the building she wanted to turn into an internet café – Pic: Daniel Wilson

A COUNCILLOR has brandished vandals as mindless - after her youth project was pushed to the brink of termination. For two years, Cllr Val Truman had been looking to develop a site opposite Melbourn Village College in The Moor into an internet cafe for

A COUNCILLOR has brandished vandals as "mindless" - after her youth project was pushed to the brink of termination.

For two years, Cllr Val Truman had been looking to develop a site opposite Melbourn Village College in The Moor into an internet cafe for youngsters.

But now after a number of incidents she is contemplating pulling the project because of a series of vandalism attacks.

After decorating what used to be Melbourn's old Scout hut, and kiting it out with chairs and tables, the centre was smashed to pieces in a number of incidents.

Since the first break-in last year, the centre has been repeatedly damaged, with windows being broken and doors pulled from their hinges.

The walls have been covered with graffiti and the floors strewn with rubbish.

Cllr Truman, who has been a councillor for 15 years, said: "When I was first notified about the damage I almost cried. It is so upsetting that it has continued to happen."

She said that she had a lot of plans for the centre and was looking to install computers and a cafe area.

"We had a lot of ideas and it was looking perfect until it was torn to pieces. We have spent a lot of money on the development, in fact, I have spent a lot of my own money.

"Our aim was to give youngsters a place to go, where they could relax and socialise," she said.

"I talked to a lot of the youngsters to see what they wanted and this seemed like the ideal answer. But it has just been thrown back in our faces."

The latest incident appears to be the final straw for Cllr Truman, who said she had lost count of how many times the site had been attacked, and now plans to demolish the building are in negotiation.

She said: "I do hope it doesn't come to that because it would be such a shame. But at the end of the day we can't keep replacing the damage. The vandals keep getting in and I can't afford to keep doing this.

"The centre was going to give youngsters in the area somewhere to go. It would have given them something to do."

Cllr Truman said: "It's now at the stage where I've really had enough and I'm considering stopping the whole thing.

"At the moment I'm despondent over the whole issue, and I've certainly been put off doing anything like this again.

"It's probably only a small minority who have been doing this, but their mindless actions are costing others dearly."

She added: "I know that a lot of the youngsters would have loved this, but these vandals are ruining it for all of them.

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