A ‘significant’ bill for Highland Council has followed a series of vandalism attacks on the public toilets in Alness.
In the most recent atttack last month, vandals smashed the soap and toilet roll dispensers, and deliberately stuffed the sinks and toilet with toilet paper in order to clog the drainage systems.
Due to the severity of the attack, the council temporarily ceased replacing the broken dispensers, leaving the toilets without soap or toilet rolls.
The council has spotted a pattern to the incidents and now delays fixing the issues in order to avoid having to replace the equipment over and over again.
A council spokesman said: “We have had to call out plumbers to clear the drains and have replaced all fixtures numerous times, at significant expense and only to find everything broken and clogged again within 24 hours.
“This practice has been procedure for the last two years at sites where vandalism has been an issue.
“We find that after a short while, around a couple of weeks, the vandals lose interest, as they have nothing to break and they move on, we are then able to replace items and top up consumables as normal.”
Muir of Ord’s public toilet is closed long term due to vandalism this time last year.
The building requires a full refurbishment due to the level of damage that has occurred.
But the council spokesman added there were very few acts of vandalism within the council’s 75 public toilets.
He said: “Where there are known issues, they tend to occur between the hours of 4pm and 8pm by people whom the police and communities are aware of.
“We now have a mobile CCTV camera which can be moved around the Highlands to sites where vandalism is an issue in order to capture images of those responsible.”
He said the council has no plans at the moment to put CCTV permanently in place at the Alness toilets.
Local councillor Maxine Smith said: “It’s very unusual for the Alness toilets to be touched in any adverse way as most people in the community show respect to communal property.
“However Covid is bringing out the worst in people, not just youngsters but people old enough to know better.
“It’s like they have to vent and so many things are closed that they’re searching for alternatives.
“In no way do we condone this behaviour and it must stop immediately because whether Covid related or not there will be serious consequences for the offenders.”