SAFETY officials have declared war on the mindless vandals who target bus shelters in and around the town.

The Swindon Community Safety Partnership is working with new materials to make bus shelters virtually indestructible.

Hi-tech materials like clear polycarbonate may replace the glass and metal panels meaning smashed glass will be a thing of the past.

Richard Palusinski, head of community safety in Swindon, said: "The material has been used in Swansea and has been very successful at combating vandalism.

"It's not just about the cost of replacing bus shelters; it's about making people feel safe.

"Seeing a smashed-up bus stop causes a fear of crime and lowers the morale of people who have to live in the graffiti hotspots."

The bus stops will be made of a fine steel coated in plastic which means that not only will they be practically unbreakable, but graffiti paint will also just run off the surface.

As part of the programme to reduce the damage, CCTV will monitor the most commonly targeted areas.

The council says the vandals regularly target bus shelters, particularly over weekends, leaving them with damaged panels.

The area surrounding the shelters are usually strewn with shattered glass posing a hazard for people and pets walking along the street.

Swindon Council's cabinet member for community and neighbourhoods, Colin Lovell, said: "I am pleased positive action is being taken to tackle this problem.

"A few anti-social people ruin the environment for the majority."

The partnership, which includes Wiltshire Police and Swindon Council, will be working closely with the company that maintains and pays for repairing the shelters, Clear Channel UK.

Mr Palusinski said: "When bus shelters are damaged it creates a poor image of Swindon and can result in the public being put at risk."

Temporary CCTV cameras will be used at the bus shelters and the images will be used to identify and prosecute the vandals responsible.