Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A pointless crime

If you've visited Musings before, you will probably be familiar with our splendid Mersea beach huts, subject of many a point-click session of mine (eg here, here and here) as well as providing endless inspiration for island artists.

Last week some 30 of the West Mersea huts were broken into and four of them burned completely to the ground in the early hours of the morning.

It seems that this wasn't the usual 'mindless vandalism' which, sadly, we have to endure as much any other neighbourhood, but part of a planned operation by a gang targeting beach huts all along the east coast.

But . . . WHY? in heaven's name? What on earth does anyone expect to find in a beach hut other than ageing deckchairs, plastic spades, mismatched picnicware and a Spotters' Guide to the Sea Shore? Even at the height of the holiday season, it's most unlikely that anyone would leave anything of very much value inside, but many of these huts would still have been virtually empty since last autumn.

It's not only infuriating and worrying for islanders and desperately sad for the owners, but also completely baffling.

There's a pic of the scene the morning after, with fire crew still in attendance, on James & Maggie's blog.


monix said...

WHY indeed? How disheartening for the owners and for everyone who has been cheered by the sight of the huts, whether walking on your island or visiting your blog.

60 Going On 16 said...

Just mindless. And so sad. Looking at a row of beach huts is one of those simple pleasures that just lifts the heart.

colleen said...

I am really upset about this. I have memories of sheltering in a friend's beach hut here and the thought of such spiteful destruction is really saddening.

Juxtabook said...

How horrible. I hope the owners have the heart to get things right again. It is one of the great coastal sights - little rows of beach huts.

Anonymous said...

The obvious answer to why is probably some local people don't like "outsiders".

Juliet said...

Thanks for all your comments.

Anonymous - you couldn't be more wrong: a large number of these huts belong to islanders, not 'outsiders', and we are all justly proud of the huts as an integral part of island culture, whoever owns them. Holidaymakers are a vital and welcome part of the economy here, and a high percentage of the local population is now made up of 'outsiders' (like myself) in any case. Whether opportunistic or, as suspected by the police, organised, this crime does not have the 'obvious' motive you suggest.

uphilldowndale said...

How very sad, can you insure a beach hut? (not that it makes it any better.)