VANDALS on Portland who have targeted the livelihood of a coach driver for the second time in less than a month have been branded appalling.
Now the driver, Steve Seymour, a director of South Dorset Coaches, says he is fuming and that living on the island has become a ‘nightmare’.
On Good Friday his vehicle in the car park by Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club was attacked by yobs who smashed the windscreen and two side windows in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Seymour had been preparing to take a coach trip of 36 people to Normandy, France and had to rush to arrange a last-minute replacement.
Just 24 days earlier his Weymouth Supporters’ Club coach, parked in the same place, was broken into and almost destroyed – causing an estimated £20,000-worth of damage.
Mr Seymour, 43, said: “The damage isn’t as bad but it’s still a windscreen and two side windows.
“I was due to pick up 36 people to take them to Normandy but we had to get another coach in to do the job so I’ve also lost out on that.”
Mr Seymour said it would cost around £3,400 to replace the windscreen and windows.
He said he was at a loss to understand why anyone would commit such a mindless crime without thinking about the effects.
He said: “I just don’t understand their mentality, I mean why do it?”
Mr Seymour, who has also been assaulted during his three years of living on the island, said after the first vandal attack that it was the ‘last straw’ and he was looking to relocate from Portland.
He said the latest incident on Good Friday had only strengthened that resolve.
He said: “I never see any police on the island, everything seems to be getting worse.
“And if they do catch anyone they just get a slap on the wrists and are sent home.
“We’re trying to find somewhere else to live at the moment and get off this island because it’s just a nightmare.”
During the assault last year Mr Seymour was attacked by a gang of youths and sustained cracked ribs, severe bruising and a dislocated thumb.
Last week the cricket club itself was broken into and the intruders caused significant damage as well as stealing several items.
Club secretary Grant Neven said: “Recently the problems with youths on the island has got a lot worse.
“We all find it hard to understand the mentality of these kids – they are just appalling.
“I like to think it’s just the minority because at the club we do a lot with the youth teams to give them something to do.
“I’ve even heard some of the youngsters talking about what a waste of time all this vandalism is.
“Unfortunately for the club and the coach driver it’s a dark area and an easy target.”
Portland mayor David Thurston said he sympathised with Mr Seymour.
He said: “It seems very strange that this poor gentleman has been singled out. It’s very unfortunate and we wouldn’t like him to move off the island.
“I have no doubt the police will catch the culprits in the near future,” he said.
“We had a lot of trouble with vandalism but we had a meeting with police to increase the police presence on the island and since that time its vastly improved,” he said.
Sergeant Justin Elliott of Weymouth Police said: “We received a call from a police officer at about 2am on Friday morning to say a bus, that had been parked by the Red Triangle Cricket Club, had been damaged.
“We went up there and conducted an area search.
“We would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.”
Sergeant Neil Wood, who heads the Portland Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We are aware of this incident and will do everything in our power to deal with the offenders.
“Violent crime on Portland is coming down all the time so we’re really keen to catch the culprits for this.”
During a meeting last month the police vowed to tackle anti-social troublemakers on the island.
Sgt Wood told residents the ‘hard-core’ majority were being targeted and asked residents to work alongside his team to stop this behaviour.
Dorset Police can be contacted in confidence on 01305 222222.