£50k worth of damage to the Wey & Arun Canal in Loxwood
On the morning of Sunday 2nd April major damage to the restored Wey & Arun Canal in Loxwood was found. During the night of Saturday 1st/Sunday 2nd 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.
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 the 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 are being made to attempt to refill the sections of canal used for boat trips.
Canal trips scheduled for this week have already been cancelled and further trips are at risk. The Trust will launch a fundraising campaign as soon as possible to help meet the costs of repair and lost income from cancelled boat trips.
Setbacks caused to community and volunteer led organisation
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 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.
Sally Schupke, the Chair of 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 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.