Statement: Damian Offer, CEO, TCCT.

Sadly, over last weekend we suffered notable incidents of damage and vandalism to site infrastructure. Two gates have been vandalised at Sharkham Point and Cockington. These gates play important roles; they safeguard our livestock, prevent anti-social behaviour (including off road motor biking and fly-tipping) and safeguard visitors. They also help prevent over-enthusiastic dogs from running onto adjacent roads. These gates are installed for your safety, the safety of your canine companions and the safety of our livestock. Please don’t damage them.

We appreciate that some visitors to our sites may have sensitivities about touching site infrastructure due to the potential transmission of COVID-19. However, this cannot justify such irresponsible behaviour and wanton destruction of Trust infrastructure which is vital to facilitate ongoing management of the sites concerned. Our limited staff resource will now have to be redirected to replace this infrastructure reducing capacity to keep access to the countryside open for the community elsewhere.

We recommend that all visitors to our sites follow COVID-19 guidance; maintain social distancing, avoid touching your face and wash your hands as soon as you return home. If you are still concerned, carry hand sanitizer if you have any or avoid visiting sites that require you to touch infrastructure such as gates. We all have to make sacrifices at the current time. Please don’t make our task more difficult than it has to be.

Finally, a mindful act of damage to Trust property is criminal damage.