VANDALS have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at a new housing estate being built in Dartington.

An unidentified liquid was poured into the fuel tanks of plant and machinery of the groundwork company working at Baker Estate’s Broom Park site sometime overnight on Monday January 30.

Archaeologist Sam Walls also suffered at the hands of vandals. He turned up at the site earlier in January to discover they had sprayed the locks of his dumper and mechanical excavator with glue. The vandals had also pushed over a Portaloo.

It is believed the damage was aimed at the developer rather than the individual companies suffering the damage.

Bakers says police are investigating the crimes and that an overnight security firm will be patrolling the site. The developer has also installed on-site CCTV surveillance.

John Cheffings, commercial director at Champion Groundworks, described the crime as a “nightmare,” adding: “We had to get rid of hundreds of litres of fuel which has been mixed with a solution that stopped the engines running.

“One of our large 25 tonne excavators, which costs in the region of £200,000, will have to undergo a very expensive engine repair and will be out of action for considerable time.”

He continued: “We don’t think this is children messing about. I expect the vandalism was aimed at the developer thinking they own the machinery or would suffer some financial loss as a result of delays on site.

“The fact of the matter is it’s hurt a local company that employs a lot of local people, several of which are from the Totnes area, and they are reliant on this plant to carry out their jobs.

“It’s extremely disappointing behaviour which achieves nothing except from the financial burden to local contractors such as ourselves.”

Baker Estates housing development site at Broom Park, Dartington ( )

Sam Walls, a director at Southwest Archaeology, is carrying out an archaeological investigation as part of planning conditions, says Bakers.

His equipment was damaged by vandals overnight on Thursday January 5.

Sam stated: “This was a very deliberate act and I find it hard to comprehend.

“I’ve been tasked with carrying out vital work but the vandalism will end up costing our business a lot of money to put everything right.

“We always try to be courteous and considerate to all the neighbours where we work. This is an extremely rare and sad.”

Baker’s has now installed CCTV surveillance at the site.

A Baker’s spokesman said: “All the incidents have been reported to the police who are following up leads and carrying out an investigation.”