POLICE and firefighters have joined together for a campaign to tackle beach hut crime over the summer.
Beach huts in Hayling are a target for arsonists and vandals.
We’re trying to encourage people not to store anything that is flammableGlen Willie
Earlier this year two were destroyed and one badly damaged in a fire.
And with the cost of huts on the island reaching up to £25,000, it can be a big financial loss if they are destroyed.
Firefighter Glen Willie, from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, is leading the campaign to make owners aware of how they can protect their property during the long summer days.
He said: ‘We’re taking a proactive approach before someone gets hurt.
‘We’re trying to encourage people not to store anything that is flammable.
‘If they are storing something like gas or flammable liquid it could accelerate fires if they are started.
‘Along with the police we are giving advice to people to keep their huts up-together, security-wise.
‘It’s important they keep on top of maintenance.
‘They should make sure roof felt is repaired as ones that are not up-together are usually the ones that are targeted.’
Owners have been advised to board up the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor of their beach hut which is intended for ventilation but can mean easy access for burglars.
Mr Willie said: ‘The beach huts are very often the owners’ pride and joy and they spend a lot of money on them.
‘But they can be destroyed quickly leaving them out of pocket.
‘By taking these simple steps they can reduce the risk.’
Mr Willie and officers from Hampshire police were spreading the message at Beachlands, Hayling, yesterday.
A booklet has been put together to advise beach hut owners how to keep their property safe.
The booklet will be available online on Hampshire Fire and Rescue’s website in the next few weeks. The campaign is one of only three across the country.
Mr Willie will be at the National Watersports Festival, on Hayling, over the three days – September 5,6 and 7 – giving out advice.