Concern as Jedburgh memorial bench thrown into river by vandals

Local resident Mary Ferguson dismayed over vandalism of benches in Jedburgh with councillor Jim Brown.
Local resident Mary Ferguson dismayed over vandalism of benches in Jedburgh with councillor Jim Brown.

Calls are being made for more police on the beat in Jedburgh in a bid to halt a string of thefts of memorial benches.

The long-running problem came to a head after one bench was found floating in the river last week.

More than half a dozen benches have either been vandalised, uprooted or stolen from the town’s High Park and waterside paths of late.

And now Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown is saying something must be done to stop relatives who have paid for the benches suffering any further.

“It’s quite concerning, especially for the older people who have placed them in memory of a husband or wife,” he said.

“It’s been going on for a while, and the latest one disappeared from the path by the River Jed last week. It was later seen on an island in the Jed down by Riverside Park.

“It had only just been repaired after being smashed up.

He says worried townsfolk fear benches they have funded will be next.

“Mary Ferguson put a memorial bench up for her husband Bill after he died,” he added. “She is concerned that that one could be next to go.

“It cost her about £800 to have it installed by Scottish Borders Council, and every morning she walks down past it worried one day it will be gone like the others.”

Having spoken to multiple residents, Mr Brown believes the benches are all being targeted between 10pm and early the next morning, and it’s because of that he believes the attacks could be easily halted.

He added: “We need police officers to be seen around these places at these times.

“I’ve reported it to the police community action team and hope now that it has been enlarged they will have more time to patrol these areas at certain times of night.

“We need to see a bigger police presence in the town.

“This is not one person. It would take two fairly strong youths to lift these benches as they are bolted down, and there’s a perception that nothing is being done about it at the moment.”