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Margaret River police investigate weekend vandalism at Organic Garden and youth precinct

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
Camera IconThe Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times/Augusta-Margaret River Times

Margaret River police have identified some young offenders and continue investigating an abhorrent graffiti rampage at the local skate park at the weekend, with vandalism at the Organic Garden also potentially linked.

The youth precinct was covered with black spray paint tags, obscenities, racial epithets and phallic symbols in the attack, which also cost West Coffee Co hundreds of dollars and hard work to remove.

Also on the weekend, volunteers at the Organic Garden were left devastated by more vandalism which smashed doors, windows, and damaged the garden itself.

Organic Garden spokeswoman Sharyn Carroll said vandalism so far this year cost the volunteer group $4000, with Margaret River Lions regularly donating replacement items.

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“Beside the list of damage and theft, on a number of occasions, teenagers have broken into the garden room of Mansfield House eating, drinking, smoking, and generally making a mess,” she said.

Among the damage included destruction of plants, garden gnomes, obscenities carved into wooden furniture, and shed and house doors and windows broken.

West Coffee Co owner Jorja Webb was distraught by the damage caused to her small business which occupied a Shire of Augusta-Margaret River lease at the youth precinct.

She reported the incident to police and said she hoped Shire-owned CCTV footage would identify the offenders after taking to social media and giving the offenders a chance to hand themselves in.

“I can’t even describe how upset I am,” she said.

“So much time and effort goes into keeping this place looking clean and presentable.

“We are a small business who just get by and then something like this happens and it is an enormous setback.”

Margaret River police officer-in-charge Simone Taplin said two young people were diverted to community justice services related to the Organic Garden incident.

“Prior to this latest spate of graffiti we had an operation running trying to identify the offender using that tag we can all see around town,” Sergeant Taplin said.

Officers were also pursuing lines of inquiry into the skate park vandalism.

The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River which operates CCTV at the youth precinct did not respond to Times inquiries before deadline.

The weekend graffiti followed calls just last week from business owners in the CBD calling for greater Shire action to combat vandalism amid concerns the town’s appeal was being damaged.

Business operator Karl Ingram asked businesses to review their CCTV footage.

“The side of our business has been hit twice in a week by the same person,” he said.

“If they came to us and offered to do a mural we wouldn’t mind, but this is just scribble with no quality to it.”

CBD businesses previously called on the Shire to install CCTV in the town centre, which was backed by local police.

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