ALMOST 20 beach huts on Dovercourt seafront have been vandalised by yobs over the past week.

There have been 18 acts of vandalism reported to the Harwich and Dovercourt Beach Hut Association, a meeting of Harwich Town Council has heard.

It is believed that the beach huts, located near West End Lane, were vandalised during the early hours.

The issue was raised during a town council meeting on Tuesday, when it also emerged further eight or nine break-ins also took place in the past few weeks.

Jo Henderson, councillor for Dovercourt’s All Saints ward, has called for Tendring Council to install mobile cameras and for a greater police presence.

She added: “These huts are owned by people who put in a lot of work in them and it is awful that there is a very small minority of people taking it upon themselves to try and trash some things.

“But these few people are causing mayhem and we need to catch them.

“Police can’t be there 24/7 but they are still very thin on the ground.

“I call on the chief constable to provide on street policing in Harwich – these issues are not going away.

“I am calling on the police because why should innocent people keep suffering and having their huts broken by a small minority?

“We need Tendring Council to step up and we need mobile cameras in Harwich.”

Tanya Ferguson, councillor for Dovercourt All Saints ward, added: “CCTV is great and absolutely essential.

“It is not going to stop the vandalism, but it is going to record.

“We we also need a more proactive approach.”

Mayor Ivan Henderson added: “From my years of experience, I have found it is a very small number of people continuously and repeatedly causing damage and having anti-social behaviour.

“It is a minority of people but there are some good people out there doing good things for the community.”

Tendring Council said it would be addressing the issue.

A spokesman for the authority said:“We deplore vandalism of any kind, including break-ins to beach huts, and urge anyone with information about who may have committed these crimes to contact the police.

“We regularly hold meetings with beach hut associations in Tendring, and preventing crime is a standing agenda item - no doubt we will be discussing this incident in more detail then.

“We work closely with our colleagues at Essex Police to see where we can support efforts to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.”