Vandals hit canal

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WALKERS are being urged to report suspicious behaviour after vandals drained part of the Chesterfield Canal for the second weekend running.

Thousands of gallons of water were released down the canal when gates were opened at Blue Bank Lock, between Brimington and Old Whittington, last Saturday evening.

It left the stretch of canal above the gates – which move water between canal sections to lower boats – only a third full.

And it came just a week after another section of the canal, close to the Tapton Lock Visitor Centre, was drained completely by vandals.

Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “These acts of vandalism could have had serious consequences for wildlife living in the affected areas.

“These weren’t spur-of-the-moment attacks. The heavy gates can only be opened with specialist equipment and the culprits had come prepared.

“Water levels were already low after the recent dry spell and it took four days for the stretch of canal at Tapton Lock to refill.

“We’re working closely with police to catch those responsible and I’d urge local residents and walkers to report any suspicious behaviour.”

Derbyshire County Council has worked closely with volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust to reopen the historic waterway. It is now used for boat trips and is home to a variety of wildlife, including protected water vole species.

The incidents were captured on CCTV footage which has been handed to police. Anyone with information about the incidents should call Derbyshire police on 0345 123 3333.