Telephone box explosion is 'devastating' for village community

The telephone box in High Street, Oving
The telephone box in High Street, Oving

Oving residents have told of their horror after an explosion in a valued community amenity.

Police are appealing for information after six explosions in a telephone box and five postboxes across the Chichester District.

Damage to a postbox in Smugglers Lane, Bosham - Eddie Mitchell

Damage to a postbox in Smugglers Lane, Bosham - Eddie Mitchell

Community watch member Terry Parsons, 70, lives opposite the telephone kiosk which is used as a book exchange and a food produce exchange in the summer.

Terry was in his living room when the explosion happened: "Suddenly there was a loud pop. My wife thought it was a car crash and I thought she had fallen over upstairs.

"We could see smoke coming from the telephone box. It blew the door open and blew a window out that went right across the street. No fire, just smoke. I've been clay pigeon shooting before and it smelled like gunpowder.

"It's a library. People take books out and in the summer it's a produce swap. I was quite shocked — in a very quiet village like Oving we've got an explosion across the road.

The telephone box in High Street, Oving

The telephone box in High Street, Oving

"Just below the book level a lot of stuff was destroyed."

Chairman of Oving Parish Council, Sjoerd Schuyleman, 75, said the explosion was 'devastating' for the community.

He said: "The are a lot of people, particularly elderly people who depend on having books that they read and replace. It's scary and comments on Facebook have illustrated that. The fact that a number of locals turned up last night — they were horrified this amount of damage being done and they are going to be scared.

"What a shame we didn't have any CCTV system in there. The following explosion was in Runcton at 12.06, I mean, that's doable but it's frightening to say the least to think that someone might have done it on purpose. I'm horrified."

Damage to a postbox in Smugglers Lane, Bosham - Eddie Mitchell

Damage to a postbox in Smugglers Lane, Bosham - Eddie Mitchell

Sjoerd called the postbox scheme a 'fantastic' amenity for the residents but said it would affect them now people can't get books from the telephone box.

"It's a horrendous incident. It's unthinkable. What are they going to gain from blasting a telephone box?"

The telephone box in High Street, Oving

The telephone box in High Street, Oving