Youths threatened to 'bottle' man who tried to stop them vandalising Exmouth bandstand

PUBLISHED: 11:33 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:33 02 April 2019

The Garth Gibson stage in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 14 19TI 1597. Picture: Terry Ife

The Garth Gibson stage in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 14 19TI 1597. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

A man who challenged a group of youths in the process of vandalising an Exmouth bandstand was told he would be 'bottled' if he interfered.

The Garth Gibson stage in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 14 19TI 1603. Picture: Terry IfeThe Garth Gibson stage in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 14 19TI 1603. Picture: Terry Ife

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Journal he witnessed a youth attempt to kick down one of the wooden stanchions of the The Garth Gibson stage, in Manor Gardens, yesterday afternoon (April 1) when he was out for a walk.

He said: “As I walked almost opposite the shelter, I saw some kids walking along the back wall of the shelter.

“Then I heard ‘bang, bang!’ – as I looked, I saw one of the kids was kicking one of the two wooden stanchions at the back of the shelter.”

When the man challenged the teenager, they denied doing any wrongdoing.

The Garth Gibson stage in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 14 19TI 1599. Picture: Terry IfeThe Garth Gibson stage in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 14 19TI 1599. Picture: Terry Ife

After a few terse exchanges, the man said the teen’s friends surrounded him before one of them started making threats.

“I said ‘how would you like it if your mum had to pay for the damage’ and then they started making threats.

“As I walked away, one of them threatened to ‘buckle’ me, as in hit me with his belt buckle.

“I came back and said ‘have a crack’. I went to walk away again, and they threw beer at me out of a can. One of them also threatened to bottle me.”

The man posted details of the incident to Exmouth Community UK on Facebook, prompting several teenagers to message him directly, protesting their innocence.

He said: “On the whole, teenagers around this town are great.

“We all mess around, but this handful of kids are giving them a bad name.

“Exmouth is a beautiful place to live – it’s a shame that one or two or these kids are giving it a bad name.”

The man said shortly after the confrontation he reported what had happened to the police.

It is not the first time that Exmouth’s bandstand has been targeted.

In December 2017, vandals tried to use a memorial park bench to smash through an inch-thick plate glass window on the Garth Gibson Stage. After the attack, the bench was left leaning up against the window.

The bandstand – an essential part of the Exmouth Festival – was also a target for vandals in July 2017 and in 2015.

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