‘Catalogue of harassment’ for Shermanbury landowner

A landowner is offering rewards totalling £3,000 after vandals caused more than £40,000-worth of damage to his property.

Fortgate Park director Craig Richings has put up £2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for an arson attack which destroyed a £32,500 mechanical digger. A further £500 is available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those behind the latest string of criminal damage attacks at Fortgate Park, just off the A281 at Shermanbury.

Mr Richings claims he has been subjected to a “catalogue of harassment” since buying the 73.5-acre estate nine years ago. He says incidents of criminal damage have increased since he agreed to allow Mid Sussex Motocross to hold an occasional event at the site and for daughter Gemma to run car boot sales there over the summer.

Metal gates have been stolen, fences cut, posts broken, newly planted trees damaged, fuel contaminated, fish killed and car boot sale signs slashed with a knife.

Mr Richings said: “Like lots of young people these days, Gemma has been unemployed and now works part-time for a department store. She was hoping to make a business of this, to improve her prospects. I was proud to give her the opportunity. She has put her heart and soul into this venture and has worked extremely hard.

“It’s disgraceful to think that a few smallminded and petty people are doing their utmost to scupper her efforts in the hope she will go away.”

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