A COUNCIL which took on the running of a toilet block viewed as a necessity for a town's tourist industry is set to install a CCTV camera in a bid to combat vandalism.

Thirsk town councillors have expressed frustration over ongoing criminal damage and antisocial behaviour at the block in Millgate, near the town's coach and car parks.

The council, which was handed the toilets' management by Hambleton District Council in 2011, spends about £10,000-a-year maintaining the block, of which £8,000 is funded by taxpayers and the remainder from honesty box donations.

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A council spokesman said two of the three men's cubicles had been closed as part of a drive to maintain standards in the toilets.

He said: "Unfortunately, over the past three weeks someone has seen fit three times to insert a cobble into the remaining useable toilet bowl causing blockages and overflow and an unhygienic situation for users of the facilities and cleaning staff.

"There are also cost implications, which ultimately fall on residents of Thirsk."

The council said it did not want to consider closing the block as it was well used and necessary in town which attracts thousands of tourists.

The spokesman said: "This mindless behaviour must give visitors to the town a bad impression."

North Yorkshire Police have been asked to increase monitoring of the premises and the council said it would install a CCTV camera near to the outside door to serve as a deterrent.