Vital safety and rescue equipment at Tynemouth Pier has been damaged by vandals.
The Port of Tyne is responsible for the pier and had recently installed a safety line for use by the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (TVLB) in the event of search and rescue operations.
The safety line was installed at the end of November along the length of the pier on the lower level where there is no public access, but vandals ripped out around 400 metres of the line and destroyed the tension fixings.
The project to install the equipment and provide safety harnesses for the TVLB volunteers cost around £8,000 and will now have to be replaced.
Alan McPherson, Port of Tyne Harbour Master, said: “This was a pointless act of vandalism by individuals who not only put themselves at risk in a prohibited area, but more importantly put the safety of the public who enjoy the piers at risk.
“Having this type of equipment and other safety mechanisms in place means we can allow the public access to the pier safely. This senseless behaviour will have an impact on everyone who enjoys the pier.”
Peter Lilley, Brigade Captain, of the TVLB commented: “Mounting rescue operations from Tynemouth Pier in stormy weather is one of the most dangerous situations our team can face and we have been very grateful for the support from the Port of Tyne in working to install this brand new safety line. As an organisation we are very disappointed to hear that it has been vandalised within days of its installation, which increases the dangers our volunteers face if called to an emergency situation at this location.”