DRUG-TAKING vandals are thought to be behind the destruction of a Victorian lamp.

The damage at Mill Ghyll, Ilkley, has left the town with an £1,800 bill and has prompted calls for police to clamp down on drugs and vandalism at the former Victorian pleasure garden. The town council is also appealing for information about the incident, which happened overnight on Saturday, February 29.

Cllr Jennifer Souter told a meeting of Ilkley Town Council there had been quite a lot of vandalism in the area recently, with two instances in January and February. She said after the latest incident an electrical contractor who made the lamp safe said he had noticed a lot of little white bags in the area.

“You can imagine what it was,” she added.

Cllr Souter believes the lamp was deliberately damaged so that other people could not see what was happening.

She told the meeting although there had been a lot of wind lately Saturday did not seem to be a particularly windy night. She believes all the evidence is pointing towards vandalism. She said: “People have commented there is something to do with drugs going on up there.”

Sgt Richard Lloyd told the meeting it had not been highlighted as an issue before.

Cllr Souter said it would be very costly to replace the lamp which was pushed down by the water. Ilkley Town Council has been told the lamp post and Victorian head have been damaged beyond repair.

A new lamp would need to be imported from Holland if it was to fit in with the scheme. The cost of a replacement is expected to be about £1,800.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who has information is asked to contact the Ilkley Town Council clerk by emailing clerk@towncouncil.ilkley.org or ringing 01943 436212.

In 2017 the Mill Ghyll lighting scheme was recognised with an award from Ilkley Civic Society.

Ilkley Parish Council’s ‘Lighting up the town’ project was recognised with an award for Environmental Improvement.

The scheme has introduced Victorian style lamps up Mill Ghyll from the old fountain.

The Civic Society said: “Floodlights have also been added below the footbridges all of which enhance this popular Victorian pleasure garden.

"A separate lighting scheme has also refurbished and introduced new LED lighting to the two Victorian lamp standards at the entrance to the Memorial Gardens at the west end of The Grove.

"This project is sited within the Ilkley Conservation Area.”