Re-opened toilets are plagued by vandalism

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Vandals have been trashing Belper’s Strutt Street toilets and allegedly taking drugs in the cubicles just weeks after they were re-opened to the public.

Burnt foil and empty bottles of alcohol are being strewn around the conveniences, which were taken on by the town council in July after Amber Valley Borough Council stopped funding.

Sinks are also being used as toilets, with graffiti and damage being caused to the doors and walls and toilets being blocked with rubbish.

Councillors say the continuous damage could threaten the long-term viability of the loos.

Belper Town Council leader John Nelson said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. There are people working to make this town look nice for everyone to enjoy and then you get this minority spoiling it for everybody.

“We need to stamp it out as soon as possible. It’s the town council staff who are having to deal with the impact of this.

“The police and our staff have been carrying out random checks but it is very difficult to catch them. We need the public to help us.”

The ladies’ toilets are being impacted more than the gents. Foil is being found in sanitary bins.

Town council staff are also having to regularly apply fresh paint over graffiti - with phallic symbols being etched in the doors.

Defecation is also taking place in the sinks and gin, wine, cider and whisky bottles have been found.

The catalogue of abuse has prompted Derbyshire Police to step up patrols.

After widespread protests about their closure in March, the town council investigated the possibility of taking over responsibility for the block on Strutt Street.

A month later they voted unanimously to re-open the toilets at a total cost of around £4,500, about half the figure it cost the borough council and they were re-opened in time for this year’s Belper Food Festival in July.

Part of the savings come from a deal in which the Co-op agreed to unlock the toilets every morning.

Loos at the Triangle in Belper were closed last November.

However, a campaign backed by councillors is under way to try and re-open them in the near future.

They were replaced by Fresh Basil, St Peter’s Church and De Bradelei Mill, which agreed to open up their facilities to the public as part of the Amber Valley Community Toilets Scheme.

However, Fresh Basil pulled out of the scheme after staff at the shop allegedly suffered abuse from people who wanted the public toilets re-opened.

Public toilets in Duffield have been replaced by Appletree Medical Practice, while the loos in Heage are being provided by the Black Boy pub.