VANDALS have caused damage to noticeboards at a beauty spot near Winchester, weeks after police increased its presence at the site.

Over the weekend (July 25 and 26) a sign was broken and removed at Compton Lock. A feature board from the nearby Compton Place was also badly damaged.

Those who carried out the act of vandalism have now been criticised for their actions by a Shawford footpath warden.

John Wilkinson OBE told the Chronicle: “These acts, perhaps fuelled by drink/drugs, were senseless and very upsetting and will now cost significant parish funds to repair and/or replace.

“Such vandalism shows no respect for the environment, for the work of local volunteers who try to protect it, nor for any authority.”

The Compton Place sign was originally funded by Hampshire Gardens Trust supported by Compton and Shawford Parish Council and Hampshire County Council.

In June Hampshire police introduced dispersal orders on and off at Compton Lock following reports of anti-social behaviour.

The orders allowed officers to tell groups of two or more people to leave Compton Lock and Hockley Link.

The action, unusual for the Winchester area, was in response to a number of reports of anti-social behaviour caused by large groups of people during the coronavirus lockdown.