FREE public toilets in Abingdon are ‘at risk’ after the facility is vandalised for a second time this year.

The toilets in Abbey Meadows were damaged last week leaving the Vale of White Horse District Council with a ‘costly repair bill’.

Vandals ripped all the metal toilet roll holders off the walls and set fire to them and to the hand wash units. 

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Every bin has been smashed up, air vents ripped out, reinforced windows smashed, baby changing units damaged and doors pelted with rocks leaving the facilities closed until repairs can be done.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on public toilets in the town this year and the second such incident at Abbey Meadow with the first happening in April and costing the council £2,500.

A facility in the Charter Car Park remains closed following serious vandalism in May, the toilet at Hales Meadow had to be repaired earlier in the year, and elsewhere in the district, the toilets in Grove have also been attacked.

Councillor Andy Crawford, cabinet member for finance and corporate assets at the district council, said: “This ongoing vandalism is extremely frustrating. 

“Each time this happens people are unable to use the public toilets and we have to use yet more public funds to foot the costly repair bill.

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“If this doesn’t stop happening, it could put the future of these facilities at risk.”

Councillor Helen Pighills, an Abingdon Abbey Northcourt ward councillor, added: “Abbey Meadow is wonderful area that’s really popular with families, especially those with young children. 

Oxford Mail: The damage in the toilets. Pictures by Vale of White Horse District CouncilThe damage in the toilets. Pictures by Vale of White Horse District Council (Image: Vale of White Horse District Council)

“Public toilets are there for the whole community but unfortunately this repeated vandalism could put people off from visiting the area.

“It’s a real shame that a few mindless individuals continue to cause damage to our public facilities and cause great inconvenience for those visiting the town.  If you know who is responsible, please contact the police.”

Some residents have now called for CCTV to be installed to prevent a third recurrence.

Replying to the district council on Facebook, one resident said: “We should have blanket CCTV of the whole of Abingdon.

“It might cost a fortune but I’m sure the kids would think twice if they though some grainy dark images might end up in a Facebook group.”

Others are worried that if the toilets are permanently closed because of the vandalism there would be nowhere else to go.

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One resident said: “So there's no toilets to use because the cafes won't let you use theirs unless you are eating - not helpful when you have small children or for the elderly who may need to go.”

The vandalism incidents have been reported to Thames Valley Police.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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