Local community leaders met in Blyth today to discuss the recent spate of arson attacks in the South Shore area. The attacks took place in early January and targeted the Blyth beach huts as well as a number of vehicles on the South Beach estate.
Representatives from Active Northumberland, Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Police all took part in the meeting, alongside Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy and local councillors, to discuss the progress being made to fix the huts and what steps can be taken to avoid a repeat of this month’s arson attacks.
Northumberland County Council, who own the iconic beach huts, are working as quickly as possible to restore the huts.
The MP for Blyth Valley, Ian Levy, praised the fire service for their quick response; the council for working to restore the huts for their tenants as in time for the holiday season; and Northumbria Police who are continuing work to build a case against those suspected to be responsible for the attack.
Commenting on the meeting Ian said: “The arson attacks that took place on the night in question were an act of really mindless vandalism. The huts are iconic to the people of Blyth and are a symbol of positive change within the town.
“The community has rallied around though, and lots of people have come forward to offer their help. This meeting has allowed us to come together and understand what happens next for our beach huts.
“I’m also confident that by working together we can bring people together in a positive way to ensure this sort of attack doesn’t happen again.”
Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism said: “We were delighted that local police made arrests within two days of these arson attacks, and commend them for their immediate action, which really helped put minds at rest.
“Our biggest priority for now is getting repairs done to the damaged beach huts as quickly as possible, which we hope to do in the next few weeks.
“We know there are issues around security, and we’ve had some really positive discussions with our partners around how we take positive action on this.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by offers of support from communities across Northumberland who all want to help, which has really brought communities together, and I’d personally like to thank everyone for their generosity.”
Last week Northumbria Police arrested two teenagers in relation to the attack and investigations are ongoing to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Hall, from Northumbria Police, said: “Anti-social behaviour and disorder, including criminal damage, will quite frankly not be tolerated and can have a lasting financial and emotional impact on victims.
“When it comes to the Blyth beach huts, we have had very constructive meetings with partners to discuss the security around the huts in particular to ensure we are all working together to safeguard the respected landmark.
“We work closely with partners to ensure Blyth remains a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit and our multi-partnership approach will continue to investigate any crimes and ensure those responsible face the full extent of the consequences for their crimes.”