Vandals smash Leicester lock

Published: Friday, 28 August 2009
VANDALS have smashed the paddle mechanism of a Leicester Lock, draining the pound and grounding boats.

It was this morning (Friday) that residents by the Grand Union Canal in South Wigston in Leicester woke up to see the waterway completely drained, calling out British Waterways, Alan Tilbury reports.

It was discovered that Bush Lock (shown in water) had been vandalised with the paddle gear and the lock being smashed either with a big hammer or an axe, draining the waterways and grounding moored boats.

Gates forced open

A resident told that the lock gates had been forced open in the attack, with a British Waterways inspection revealing it will cost many hundreds of pounds to repair, and a spokesman reporting:

"It'll take quite a few hours of work and manpower to put everything right again. Workers have been here since 7am and it's looking like an all day job. We have to move up the canal, opening the other locks to let the water filter down to the part that's been drained.

"I imagine it's school kids who got bored and thought they'd have a laugh. But the damage to the locks is going to cost about £600, it looks like they've just smashed them to pieces with a lump hammer or an axe."

Dennis Smethurst was one whose boat was grounded, complaining:

"I saw the canal completely drained at about 1am this morning and the boat was sunk into the mud and lying partly on its side. There is always something going on with the kids. They're always vandalising something or other, but it's never been as bad as this."

"Luckily, there was no damage to the boat, it just got a bit muddy."

Local resident Beryl Hague, whose property backs onto the canal, exclaimed:

"It's very unfair for anyone who wants to bring their boat down here. The canal was about five inches deep this morning and the smell was terrible, I don't know what caused it. I know they have a lot of trouble at the locks with vandals. Somebody should do something about it."