More cash spent on repairing vandalised dino models in Exmouth this year than whole of 2017
PUBLISHED: 14:46 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 19 August 2019
More money has been spent repairing vandalised dinosaur models in Exmouth this year than in the entirety of 2017, the Journal can reveal.
An army of model dinosaurs have delighted residents and tourists visiting Exmouth as part of an interactive prehistoric-themed trail.
However, the dino trail has been swamped with several unsavoury incidents.
Video footage widely circulated on social media earlier this year showed a fully naked man straddling a model dinosaur.
Another photo which surfaced on social media in June this year showed a youth sitting atop one of the models, which make up the town's Jurassic Coast trail.
The model was later found with substantial damage and had to be repaired.
More recently, a model had graffiti sprayed on it.
This year so far, Exmouth Town Council has been forced to cough up £767 in repairs to the dinosaur trail - £136 more than it did throughout the whole of 2017.
The authority spent £631 on repairs in 2017, and the dinosaurs were removed and put in storage for the following year.
Paul Millar, Town ward member at Exmouth Town Council, said: "We have handed out hundreds of trail leaflets and we have had several emails from happy families and tourists.
"The dinosaur trail attracts many residents which is why it is important they are repaired when damaged.
"But why are they being damaged in the first place?
"These repairs are costing taxpayers money which could, for example, be going towards removing that dreadful broken eyesore of a clock from the middle of the Magnolia Centre."
"I'm confident that the town team are exploring ways we can eradicate these unnecessary repair costs in the future."
In May this year, damage made to a baby dinosaur model in Exmouth prompted safety fears from district councillor Eileen Wragg.
She said: "There's always a possibility of injury to a child and I think the materials used need to be reviewed to see if we can make them safer.
"I am a bit concerned that if an arm can break off so easily that we do need to look at the safety aspect and possible injury to children."
Exmouth Town Tourism Team, which is responsible for the dinosaurs, said parents should not let their children get too close to the model dinosaurs.