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Update: £50k Criminal Damage to Waterway Equipment Shocks Canal Trust

Published on: 7 Apr, 2023
Updated on: 9 Apr, 2023

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust says it has been shocked by major criminal damage to electrical control equipment for pumps that is likely to cost £50,000 to repair.

Elecrical control box ripped open on the Wey & Arun Canal at Loxwood.

The equipment was destroyed during the night of Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, on the canal at Loxwood.

Multiple pumping control locations were attacked and padlocks on canal locks were removed that released water down the canal.

The attack has resulted in the water level dropping.

The crime has been reported to the police and limited temporary repairs were being made on Thursday, April 6, to attempt to refill the sections of canal used for boat trips. 

Popular boat trips on the canal scheduled for Wednesday were cancelled.

Update: On its website (as of Friday, April 7) the trust stated: “All Easter boats trips will run as scheduled this weekend despite the damage caused. Our brilliant volunteers have installed temporary pumps to re-fill the canal.

“While the canal may look back to normal, damage caused to pumping controls means we still have major problems to manage water levels. We are still assessing how best to repair the damage caused and have launched a fund-raising appeal.

“We hope you enjoy the canal over the weekend whether you are just out for a walk, getting on the water in your Kayak or enjoying one of our scheduled trips.

“The support and reaction from the local community has been amazing.  A huge thank you to everyone who has already donated to our appeal.” 

Until the water level can be restored, popular boat trips on the canal, that help raise vital funds, will have to be cancelled.

It is a charity and a volunteer-led organisation and does not receive any regular support from public funds.

It adds that the damage is a major blow to its 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, paddle-board or enjoy a boat trip.

Sally Schupke, who chairs the trust, said “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 enquiries as to who might have been involved in causing this damage is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting ‘0731 of 2/4/23’ or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, aims to restore the 23-mile abandoned canal which runs through Surrey (from its junction with the Godalming Navigation at Shalford) and Sussex and create the missing link between Britain’s inland waterways and the English Channel.

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Responses to Update: £50k Criminal Damage to Waterway Equipment Shocks Canal Trust

  1. Roland Dunster Reply

    April 17, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Looks more like knowledgeable sabotage than mindless vandalism to me.

    Regardless, all the time the perpetrators of antisocial behaviour are allowed to act with impunity, leaving the decent majority to (literally) pick up the pieces, it will continue unabated. Time for the police and national and local authorities to grow backbones, or employ authority support providers to fully enforce laws and fines.

    Along with the likes of the Downs Link pedestrian and cycle trail, the Wey & Arun canal is a beautiful natural amenity/asset, and I sincerely hope the W&ACT can recover from this sad, but predictable, setback.

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