A ROW of new beach huts, each worth more than £20,000, has been targeted by vandals.

Campaigners fought against the 15 traditional wooden buildings on East Beach, Shoebury, for fear they would attract vandalism.

Nowowners have been left to pay the bill for a string of repairs after minor damage to doors, bolts and locks.

Smashed bottles are also regularly left across the beach.

Grandfather Trevor Smith, 59, of Lifstan Way, Thorpe Bay, bought his bright yellow hut, which has a fitted kitchen, so his family could enjoy funfilled days together.

He would not reveal how much he paid, but estate agent Haart accepted sealed bids of more than £20,000.

Mr Smith said: “It is little things, but the same has been done along all the huts. My door pulley system has been damaged and covers on our locks ripped off. It’s very irritating. We’re having to fork out for repairs. We’ve also had problems with smashed bottles. When you’ve children or grandchildren around, you don’t want that.

“I had a beach hut in Thorpe Bay. I got rid of it because of graffiti. My wife said I would regret it when we had grandchildren. As soon as these came on the market, I made an offer. They are rare. Huts like these don’t come up very often.’’

Three sets of CCTV cameras are being installed at East Beach – at the end of Rampart Street, in the main car park by the beach and by the flaghole opposite the car park.

It is hoped the security measures, going live next month, will curb antisocial behaviour and promote the area as a safe place for families.

Roger Hadley, Tory councillor for Shoebury, devised the idea for the huts last year to bring in a profit for Southend Council.

He said: “CCTV deters vandalism, because people know they’re being recorded.’’