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Vandalism means no surf watch

A ‘strange’ attack on a surf rescue building in Dunedin left the observation deck inoperable and the beach unguarded for hours yesterday.

Two people were caught by St Kilda Surf Live Saving Club security cameras destroying the observation deck barrier at 11pm on Saturday.

Building manager Cam Third said vandalism left most of the beach unguarded during the morning.

The viewing platform was used by volunteers to keep an eye on the full extent of the shoreline.

Without it, they had no way of continuously monitoring areas that weren’t directly outside the club building, such as Lawyers Head beach to the east.

“There are so many blind spots.”

Fortunately, there were no incidents yesterday, but leaving the beach unattended was particularly dangerous as the days warmer and the beach becomes more popular.

The repairs came from the club’s budget.

“We don’t have a lot of money.”

The attack was “so bizarre” and “unwarranted”, he said.

Security camera footage shows the couple loitering around the building for about five minutes before they begin removing panels from the bridge fence.

An entire section of the barrier is thrown, causing about a quarter of it to break and fall.

They seem to notice the camera behind them and one of them makes a rude gesture as they run away.

Mr Third said he did not know why they had damaged the club, but it was not the first time it had happened.

Before the cameras were installed, windows were smashed or walls tagged about once a month.

Now damage was less frequent and those who had vandalized the club since had been caught using the security footage in the past.

He hoped the footage would again help catch the culprits.

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