VANDALS have damaged a historic fort and the repairs will cost thousands of pounds.

Yobs have targeted Shoreham Fort over the last year. Bricks have been broken, and hypodermic needles and human excrement found at the site.

Police are now stepping up patrols in a bid to stop more criminal activity.

It is estimated the bill to repair all the damage could top £100,000.

Money is needed to replace the handmade Victorian-style bricks, which can cost £8 each, and there is the added cost of a specialist to replace them.

The Argus: Human excrement has been found at Shoreham FortHuman excrement has been found at Shoreham Fort

Before work can even begin, a “scheduled monument consent” must be signed off by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Gary Baines, chairman of Friends of Shoreham Fort, said: “There is a huge amount cost for repairing the fort, but also all the paperwork needed to be filed for the repairs.

“It is so demoralising for the volunteers. People are destroying the fort quicker than we are going to be able to repair it. I have a picture of the fort from the Seventies, and if nothing happens soon, it will return to that condition which would be absolutely devastating.

“All the time it is being battered. We can’t guarantee that there aren’t needles or paraphernalia on site, and the last thing we want to do is bring schoolchildren into that type of environment.

“Some of the damage has destroyed £63,000 worth of work repairing the rifle loops in the walls.”

The fort was built in 1857 to help defend against invasion by Napoleon. During the Second World War, it became part of an emergency coastal battery with the installation of two six-inch guns capable of sinking enemy ships.

Gary, who lives in Worthing, founded the Friends of Shoreham Fort when he was 14. Now 41, he is upset at seeing the damage escalate.

He said: “It is such an ideal spot for education. But with Covid-19, it is all shut down, and we can’t be there. It’s not always kids. Sometimes it is adults who don’t have anything better to do or have no respect for anything.”

The Argus: Shoreham Fort in the 1970sShoreham Fort in the 1970s

Friend of Shoreham Fort Steven Tomlinson said: “It is disappointing that people should express themselves in that way.

“The fort brings a lot of joy for people who visit it, let alone the effort the volunteers put in. It is just a shame there are people that would do this.”

The fort’s location at the secluded end of Shoreham beach means it is challenging for police to monitor it but they are stepping up patrols.

Officers are asking for people who have seen suspicious behaviour to contact them.

A spokesman said: “We are investigating after receiving a report of damage to bricks over the last few weeks. Enquiries are ongoing, and officers are carrying out additional patrols to identify and deter criminal activity.”