'Mindless vandals' target disabled car park barrier again - costing the council thousands in repairs

The barrier to a disabled car park at a popular Clitheroe beauty spot has been wrecked for the second time in six months.

And anyone with information is asked to step up and help stop the "mindless vandals", who are inconveniencing disabled motorists and costing council taxpayers thousands of pounds in repair costs.

The barrier allowing disabled access to the riverbank at Edisford was wrenched off its hinges in June, causing £3,000 worth of damage.

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Now, just months after being repaired it has been wrenched off its hinges again, leaving site owners Ribble Valley Borough Council facing another £3,000 bill.

The damaged barrier which has been targeted twice in the space of six months

Blue badge motorists have been able to visit the riverbank safely since last year, after the council invested in secure access to the site operated by a touch-fob.

Previously, access had been via a gate unlocked with a RADAR key, meaning blue badge motorists had to get out of their car, unlock the gate, drive through, stop, then relock the gate.

Not only did this inconvenience motorists with restricted mobility, but if the gate was left unlocked dozens of unauthorised vehicles were able to access the site.

Now it seems vehicles may be tailgating disabled drivers through the barrier, then wrenching the barrier free to exit the site.

Coun. Ricky Newmark, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee, said: “Edisford riverbank is extremely popular and the fob-operated automatic barrier ensures safe access to the site for motorists with restricted mobility.

“Sadly, the system is being abused, with unauthorised vehicles apparently tailgating blue badge motorists onto the riverbank, or vandals are simply wrecking the barrier for no reason.

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“Not only has this latest mindless act caused thousands more pounds worth of damage, but the site is no longer secure, depriving disabled motorists of safe parking.

“We are looking at CCTV footage and will be coming after the culprits for every penny.”

The incident is being investigated by the police and anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555111.