Earby farmers’ anger over vandalism

'DISGRACE': Some of the damage to walls around Earby cemetery
'DISGRACE': Some of the damage to walls around Earby cemetery

VANDALS who caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to drystone walls in Earby have been branded a “disgrace”.

Walls belonging to two farmers were targeted over three separate nights, with temporary fencing put up to keep livestock in a field even torn down.

One farmer affected, John Morgan, whose land borders the cemetery said: “It started on the Friday night with damage to the top stones and then they worked their way down, knocking the top half of the wall down.

“Some more was knocked down on Saturday so on Sunday I put some temporary fencing up because I have sheep in the field. On Monday, the fencing had been ripped away and even more wall knocked down. Some damage has been done in the past with kids climbing up but nothing as bad as this.

Mr Morgan said the vandalism was “disgusting”.

“Why would someone want to do that? It is too a bit big a job for me to sort by myself and I have been quoted £400. I have sheep in the field that can quite easily get out through even a small space. It has been worrying, wondering what new damage we will see each day.”

Neighbour Martin Shaw, of Cowgarth Farm, said he had noticed a few top stones missing at the start of the weekend from his walls.

“On Monday, I saw that the damage was much more extensive, with the wall pushed about halfway down for about 25 yards. It will have to be repaired from the bottom up, starting afresh.

“It is going to cost quite a few hundred pounds. I know how much time is going to be involved with it. These are walls that may have been up 200 years.

“You expect a certain amount of damage and maintenance work but not this. I am 76 and there is a limit to what I can do. I feel damned annoyed that these people have nothing better to do than damage property.”

Earby Town Council chairman Chris Tennant said the vandals were an “absolute disgrace”. He said: “There is yards and yards of damage and it is just mindless. I don’t think these people realise just how much it takes to replace drystone walls.”

Farmer David Pickles, of Red Lion Street, has had costly repairs to make in the past. He said if the vandals are caught they should be made to help rebuild the walls.

“My land adjoins the waterfalls where there has been damage before which I gradually had to repair by myself. I had phone calls to say my cows were out at the waterfalls. Luckily, they are inside at the moment but they would cause a hell of a mess if they got out.”

“What they did at the weekend is awful. They should be forced to help and then maybe next time they won’t be so keen to pull it down.”

A spokesman for West Craven police said the area had been added to the anti-social behaviour patrol route.

Anyone with information should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.