Estate agents and banks hit by vandalism spree in Downend
THOUSANDS of pounds worth of damage was caused to banks and estate agents during a vandalism spree in Downend.
A row of businesses had more than 20 panes of glass smashed at about 2am yesterday.
HSBC, Natwest, Lloyds, Yorkshire Building Society/BNS Management Services, Andrews and Besley Hill estate agents on Badminton Road all suffered damage.
As well as the glass fronts of the shops, cashpoint screens were also smashed.
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The three-inch puncture holes indicated a weapon had been used by the criminals.
One of the businesses attacked was BNS Management Services, which acts as an agent for YBS.
Its large front pane had a number of holes and large cracks in it, which alone will cost several thousand pounds to replace.
Andrew Simmonds, a BNS director alongside his brother Ian, said: "The first I knew something was up was when the alarm people called me at about 2.20am.
"I live quite close, so I jumped up here straight away and could see flashing blue lights and all the smashed glass.
"It's not the sort of thing that happens round here – Downend is quite a respectable area.
"The strange thing is it's all the financial and property-related businesses that have been targeted.
"It seems to be that these oiks have attacked the banks, seen us and thought 'this is another financial institution – we'll give it to them as well'.
"I'm disappointed we've been targeted."
Mr Simmonds said internal CCTV captured the attack, and the footage has been handed over to the police.
Valerie Bishop, of nearby Chestnut Road, said: "I've just seen all the damage and I can't believe it.
"It's usually very quiet for trouble round here – I'm really shocked," added the 68 year old.
Another member of the public said: "It's terrible isn't it. I thought we lived in a safe area."
Yesterday afternoon, scenes of crime officers carried out for- ensic work while house-to-house enquiries were carried out nearby.
All of the businesses vandalised were open yesterday and are open today, as usual.
Avon and Somerset police spokesman Martin Dunscombe said: "Police are investigating criminal damage overnight, which seems to have been targeted at businesses in Downend, where windows have been smashed.
"This is being thoroughly investigated and forensic examination of the scene has been under way today.
"Anybody who saw the damage taking place, or knows who is responsible for causing the damage, should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111."