Caught on camera

THE identity of a loo vandal who torched a toilet-roll holder at the Emerald Town Hall overnight on Tuesday has been flushed out by CCTV footage.

Emerald police were able to identify the male, 17, from video surveillance installed by the Central Highlands council to combat repeated vandalism at the site.

Mayor Peter Maguire said it was money well spent.

“The surveillance equipment was installed some months ago because of continual vandalism in that area that had been identified as being a problem,” he said.

“It is disappointing when this happens because this is a toilet we leave open for public use.

“We could easily lock it up or cage it off, but what do you do for people who need to use a public toilet?”

Cr Maguire said another incident of toilet vandalism in the park near the Emerald Hospital grounds on Hospital Rd had led to the facility being off-limits to the public.

“They were vandalised the other week, and I know it happens in every community, but it is still disappointing,” he said.

Widespread surveillance security measures were discussed as part of the package for the Egerton St upgrade of the CBD, Cr Maguire added, but were found to be cost-prohibitive.

Cr Maguire said any problem areas identified around Emerald would be reviewed.

“Maybe we should be putting security systems in other places where vandalism is happening,” he said.

“I think as a general rule, vandalism is not too bad, but you do see street signs pulled out and thrown on the road and that’s dangerous stuff.”

The toilets were closed for two days. The youth was charged with wilful damage by fire.

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