Vandalism to fishing boats on the Worthing seafront could have dangerous consequences, according to a local fisherman.
Paul Marchant is a part-time fisherman who stores his boat at the end of Windsor Road, but over the weekend found it had been damaged.
Worthing Borough Council issued a statement on its social media accounts defending the fishermen, which it described as ‘some of the last working on the south coast’.
The statement said the fishermen can ‘ill afford to pay for repairs as their livelihoods depend on their equipment being ready to use’.
Paul echoed the council’s sentiments and said the damage inflicted on the boat’s equipment could put him and fellow fishermen in danger.
Large bamboo flag poles, used to identify the location of the nets once cast, were snapped, he said.
The nets were also tangled and damaged, clumping together in big bunches.
The danger there, he said, was that when the nets are passed over the side of the boat, one of the clumps could drag somebody overboard or endanger them as they try to untangle it as it enters the water.
Paul said he would regularly let children sit in the boat and pose for pictures, but feared it was children playing unsupervised that may have caused the damage.
He and the beach office have both called for more consideration of fishermen’s property.
“We were sailing past today and waving at all the children and families along the shore,” he said.
“We like to think we give something back. Fishing is such an important part of the town, on all the pictures you see fishing boats. They should be respected.”
The council’s foreshore inspector added there had also been thefts reported from boats in the area.
All incidents were collated, he said, and shared with Sussex Police who are aware of any ongoing disruption.