COMMUNITY organisations in Pickering have been left angry and dismayed after a spate of vandalism in the town.

Vandals struck at Beck Isle Museum last Tuesday night causing hundreds of pounds of damage to iron railings and along the riverside walk, again targeting railings by scraping off new paintwork.

Rodge Dowson, manager at the museum, said a considerable amount of litter has also been left on the beckside.

“Many people are possibly not aware that the Museum Trust owns the beckside and maintains that area at our own expense together with excellent support and co-operation from Ryedale District Council staff who keep the bins emptied and remove litter and debris and so on,”

he said.

“We want to continue to allow Pickering folk and visitors to enjoy this wonderful picnic site, which is a wonderful green space within the town. We do want everyone to respect it, help to look after it and not abuse it.”

Mr Dowson said the damage to the railings would have a cost to the museum which they could ill afford as a charity, especially in these challenging times.

“Many people in Pickering, including all that support the work of Pickering in Bloom, are doing their best to keep Pickering a special place to live, work and play, let’s all do our bit to keep it that way,” he said.

Peter Emmerson, chairman of Pickering in Bloom, said two local Scout groups, Ryedale Explorer Scouts and 1st Vale Pickering Scouts, had painted the hand railings and street furniture along the riverside walk as part of the town’s efforts in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition.

He said: “Pickering in Bloom is a very small group of just ten volunteers at present, who have been working hard together with the local authorities, businesses, schools and community groups to enhance the appearance of the town ready for the Jubilee celebrations, arrival of the Olympic torch and the Yorkshire in Bloom summer judging – indeed, we are trying very hard to achieve better than the Silver award bestowed upon Pickering by Yorkshire in Bloom in past years.

“It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have to report that just a few short weeks since the hand railings and street furniture along the riverside walk were painted, that an individual or individuals, who quite frankly in my opinion are not fit to be part of this community, have committed criminal damage by scraping off areas of the new paintwork.”

Mr Emmerson said the Yorkshire in Bloom judges has been particularly impressed with the very high standard of painting that the Scouts had achieved and of their work within the community and the competition.

“This is a very soul-destroying blow to the volunteers who so readily give up their own time to enhance their town only to have their work spoilt by a mindless minority,” he said.

Police said they were investigating the matter and urged anyone with further information to phone them on 101, press option two and ask for Katie Shaw. Or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting reference number 12120082721.