Burglars torch buildings at open water swimming centre

The latest in a long line of break ins and vandalism at the Divers Cove open water swimming centre at the seven acre East Lake reservoir on the outskirts of Godstone has led to the buildings there being destroyed by arsonists.

The cabins at Divers Cove, which included a cafe, changing rooms, toilets and store room, have been gutted and are charred shells after burglars broke a fence to gain access, cut a hole in the roof an angle grinder and torched the buildings.
Everything inside, including five boats, thousands of pounds worth of wetsuits and equipment, plus £500 and furniture, is gone.

A dog-walker heard smashing at 6.45pm on Sunday and phoned police, shortly before neighbours noticed the fire and also raised the alarm.

Another walker had earlier confronted a man loitering on a footpath near the gate to the attraction, but he claimed he had left his phone there and was waiting to meet the owner.

The reservoir is used by hundreds of swimmers, many of them triathletes, and is open on some weekday evenings in the summer, and weekend mornings.
Fire fighters from Godstone, Reigate and Oxted , helped battle the blaze and it took around three hours to control.

It is the latest in a catalogue of break-ins and vandalism at the former quarry, which first opened as a scuba-diving centre in 2013.

Owners Tom Baker and Jack Smith have had to cancel an open water night swim which was to have taken place on Sunday and have now launched a Justgiving page to help raise the £20,000 they reckon it will need to put Divers Cove back on its feet.
Tonight (Tuesday) BBC Radio Surrey’s Drivetime (from 5pm) will feature Kevin Black of the Oxted and District Gazette talking to Tom Baker – 104.5FM

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