Calls have been made for greater community policing after a spate of vandalism in Inverness.
Local councillors Duncan Macpherson and Roddy Balfour have come together to make the plea, after graffiti appeared across the Cradlehall, Westhill and Smithton areas of Inverness, with a bus shelter severely damaged and part of a new play park being set on fire.
Mr Macpherson, councillor for Inverness South, said: “I was disappointed to see the explosion of graffiti and vandalism and I was shocked to discover that a fire had been set amongst the newly provided play equipment.
“This has come at a time when parents and individuals will be receiving their annual council tax bills through their doors. Every councillor is pressing for greater efficiencies to save the hard earned cash of taxpayers, but this is not the way we should be spending the money.
“The bus shelter alone will cost around £1,500 to replace the missing panels.”
He added: “There is no need for this. If we tolerate it, we will just get worse.
“I am calling upon community police officers to get in touch with schools to send out a strong message to parents and youths of the huge financial costs that their unlawful and irresponsible actions have caused.”
Mr Macpherson yesterday took the evidence of the vandalism to officers at Burnett Road police station in Inverness.
Councillor Roddy Balfour, of the Culloden and Ardersier ward where the graffiti trail continues, echoed his colleague’s worries, saying: “It is a pretty despicable and stupid way to behave.
“The bus shelters that have been damaged provide shelter for both young and old people and unfortunately we will have to carry the cost of it.
Mr Balfour expressed his sadness – however, he believed the incident not to be in keeping with the area.
He added: “Generally across the ward, and it is a very big ward population wise taking in both rural and suburban areas, things have been pretty safe and incident free over the past two to three years.
“It was a bad move to close the police station in Culloden a few years ago but we need a constant police presence in the area. Now, we need to really push for the reopening of the police station.
“We have the positives of a lot of money being spent on Smithton School to bring it up to being one of the largest, and on the other end of that, we have some quite unbelievable vandalism.
“The whole thing is very dispiriting.”