Vandalism is ‘rife’ says Haywards Heath chip shop owner

A Haywards Heath chip shop owner has spoken out after the shop’s grounds were vandalised.

Viv Cottenham, owner of Washingtons Fish and Chips in America Lane, said vandals targeted her shop at around 9pm on Thursday night (January 3), while it was open.

Viv Cottenham next to the destroyed fencing. Picture: Steve Robards

Viv Cottenham next to the destroyed fencing. Picture: Steve Robards

She told the Middy: “A group of youths, very young, destroyed two panels of fencing to the rear of the property whilst the shop was open by kicking it and pulling it.

“They scarpered giggling as soon as they realise they’d been caught.”

Viv, who has worked at the fish and chip shop for the past 30 years, and owned it for 13, said vandalism was becoming ‘rife’ in the area.

She said: “Washington’s was originally built as a fish and chip shop over 60 years ago and I’ve managed to see our customers, the area and the community evolve into today.

Washingtons Fish and Chips in Haywards Heath. Picture: Google Street View

Washingtons Fish and Chips in Haywards Heath. Picture: Google Street View

“A while back I never had any problems but vandalism has become quite rife now which is such a shame.

“I get on well with all of my customers, as do my staff, but the area has become very disheartening to live and work in.

“Let’s hope it’ll get better soon; people work very hard all of their life to get where they are and it’s unfair for others to ruin that.”

Viv also raised concerns about the lack of youth clubs in the town.

She said: “It would give them something to do – maybe learning some skills that they might need in future life, like youth clubs in other places they learn all sorts of different skills, it might help, it might not, we don’t know but it’s food for thought.

“There is nothing in Hayward’s Heath for them to do, that’s why there is so much trouble I think, I don’t know – I might be wrong.”

Residents have responded to the vandalism describing it as ‘sad’ news. Read our story here: Haywards Heath chip shop vandalism: Residents respond to ‘sad’ news

A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed the incident had been reported. They added: “Anyone with information about those responsible is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 14 of 03/01.”

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