Vandals attack Wey & Arun Canal restoration

Published: Wednesday, 05 April 2023

MAJOR damage to the restored Wey & Arun Canal in Loxwood was discovered on Sunday morning.

During the night of Saturday/Sunday 1st and 2nd of April electrical control equipment for pumps was destroyed and water was released from the canal causing major damage which is likely to cost more than £50,000 to repair.

Damage 1Boat trips cancelled

In addition, with water released, planned Easter boat trips may need to be cancelled, disappointing all those who have booked a family trip and resulting in a loss of income for Wey & Arun Canal Trust.

The sudden loss of water also has implications for fish and other wildlife in the canal.

Multiple pumping control locations were attacked and padlocks on canal locks removed to release water down the canal. The canal trust has reported the crime to the police and is working to assess the extent of damage and the repairs required. Some limited temporary repairs were made yesterday (Tuesday) to attempt to refill the sections of canal used for boat trips.

Canal trips scheduled for this Wednesday have already been cancelled and further trips are at risk.

Damage2Help meet costs of repair

The trust has launched a fundraising campaign to help meet the costs of repair and lost income from cancelled boat trips; click here to donate.

The canal trust is a charity and a volunteer-led organisation. The trust does not receive any regular support from public funds. Money to repair the damage will have to come from funds donated to restore and improve the canal.

The damage is a major blow to our volunteers who have put in so much work to restore and improve the canal through Loxwood in the last few years. The local community use the canal for recreation whether walking, cycling, horse-riding in addition to those who get on the water to Kayak, Paddleboard or enjoy a boat trip with the trust.

Major shock

Sally Schupke, the Chair of the trust tells:

“This is a major shock for the canal trust and our brilliant volunteers. Our Easter boat trips are in jeopardy and the financial hit to the Trust will impact other improvements planned to the canal.”

Anyone with any information which might assist inquiries as to who might have been involved in causing this damage should contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting ‘0731 of 2/4/23’ or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.