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Vandalism disgrace at Lowestoft Hospital

PUBLISHED: 10:46 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:23 06 July 2010

Mark Boggis

HEALTH bosses have condemned a spate of "mindless" vandalism at Lowestoft Hospital, which angry fund-raisers claim shows a "total lack of respect" for the building.

HEALTH bosses have condemned a spate of “mindless” vandalism at Lowestoft Hospital, which angry fund-raisers claim shows a “total lack of respect” for the building.

Nearly £1,000 of damage was caused to a roof and several windows at the hospital in a series of incidents - prompting security to be stepped up and extra police patrols to be carried out.

Senior managers this week vowed to look at prosecuting those involved if they are caught.

And the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital have expressed their “hurt” and “anger” at those responsible for attacking a community building, which has attracted tens of thousands of pounds from local fundraisers.

Fran O'Driscoll, who oversees Lowestoft Hospital for James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Tax-payers are funding the repairs caused by this mindless vandalism - money which could have been spent on patient care.

“Where there is sufficient evidence, we will consider prosecuting anyone suspected of causing vandalism at the hospital.”

The warning comes in the midst of an “ongoing problem,” which is believed to have stemmed from youths climbing on to the roof of buildings at the hospital site in Tennyson Road, having first sparked a police call-out in March.

Police confirmed this week that they were stepping up police patrols in the area to deter those responsible from damaging buildings, and Fran O'Driscoll added: “I would encourage anyone with information about the vandalism to contact local police.”

For the Friends of Lowestoft Hospital, who organise a number of events to support their charity - including the Lowestoft Carnival Parade, which raised £4,500 last year - news of this “callous act” comes in the week after one of their chief fund-raisers sadly died.

A spokesman for the Friends said: “This makes us very angry. It shows a total lack of respect for property and is particularly hurtful when a hospital building, that serves the whole community, is attacked.

“The efforts of a lot of townspeople has helped to raise funds for hospital equipment and facilities via numerous carnival events and a mindless act like this will not beat us but will make us even more determined to continue,” he added.

“This vandalism is particularly upsetting in the week after Gwen Baker, one of the hospital's chief fundraisers, died.”

Lowestoft police this week admitted they were aware of the problems at Lowestoft Hospital and that patrols in the area had been stepped up.

“Officers have spoken to youths found to be climbing on the roof of buildings at the premises, which has been an ongoing problem for several weeks, and police are continuing to make patrols,” a police spokesman said.

Information about those responsible for the damage should be directed to Lowestoft police on 01986 835300.

Gwen Baker's funeral arrangements to be held next Friday, May 28 are as follows: 3pm Trinity Methodist Church in Park Road, Lowestoft; 4pm at Gorleston crematorium and 5pm at Lowestoft Hospital. Flowers or donations to Friends of Lowestoft Hospital.

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