POLICE will be stepping up beachfront patrols in Christchurch after a number of beach huts were broken into.

Around 20 beach huts had their locks broken in Friars Cliff along with some in New Milton between Sunday evening and the early hours of Monday .

Former Hope FM radio presenter Dave Frost, who owns one of the beach huts in Friars Cliff, is now calling for CCTV to be installed in the area and an increased police presence.

He said: “All the locks have been taken off and destroyed. It has left the huts quite vulnerable. They have damaged one or two. The police have put temporary locks on at the moment.”

He added: “I feel a bit fed up really. I found out from somebody who was walking their dog there.

“There should be some kind of monitoring by Christchurch council – maybe night-time CCTV cameras.”

PC Justin Clarke from the Highcliffe and Walkford Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “We believe the incident occurred overnight on Sunday as the damage was discovered by a council patrol on Monday morning.

“It’s quite strange because although the locks were broken off, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of intrusion, not that there is much kept in the huts during the winter season.”

PC Clarke said the huts had been targeted a couple of times over the last two months but any damage was not serious.

He added: “We believe all the owners have been contacted and we will be talking to them about increasing protection down there.

“We will also be working with them to suggest some initiatives including extra signage.”

Christchurch council has contacted the owners to inform them of the incident, putting temporary padlocks on two huts where the owners do not live locally.

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