A TWO-foot crater has appeared in Canvey’s seawall.

Canvey councillor Ray Howard claims bonfires lit by people fishing near the Point have damaged the island’s sea defences, causing a large chunk of concrete to fall out.

He has reported the hole to the Environment Agency, which is responsible for maintaining the defences.

The agency says the damage could cost £1,000 to fix – and it has the power to force the culprits to pay, if they can be traced.

Mr Howard said: “I’ve seen fishermen lighting fires there.

“I can understand why they do it, because it’s cold down there. But it’s totally irresponsible.

“I hope the people will be caught and ultimately prosecuted.”

Mr Howard, a survivor of the floods of 1953, has been a long-time campaigner for the protection of the island’s sea defences.

He said: “The damage is repairable, but it still doesn’t alter the fact it’s vandalism.

“I get very upset by incidents like this. I have been fighting for years to make sure Canvey’s flood defences are the best in Britain.”

The damage was spotted by islander John Fairchild, 65, while out walking on the beach.

He, too, is frustrated by the behaviour of anglers who regularly use the spot.

He said: “They just leave all their junk all over the place – beer cans, crisp packets, you name it.

“These people aren’t kids. There are bins near by, they should know better.”

Mr Fairchild claims people have also pulled up concrete bollards, placed to stop vehicles driving up grassy banks on the land side of the seawall.

Rita Penman, a spokesman of the Environment Agency, said: “It will need some kind of repair and we need to make sure there has been no structural damage to the wall.”