Arsonists target South Tyneside park twice in three days by torching a picnic bench and trying to burn down a bandstand

Yobs who attacked a South Tyneside park – torching a picnic bench and trying to burn down a bandstand - have been condemned.

Police said they have stepped up patrols to catch culprits who vandalised Jarrow’s scenic West Park over three nights.
Police said they have stepped up patrols to catch culprits who vandalised Jarrow’s scenic West Park over three nights.

Police said they have stepped up patrols to catch culprits who vandalised Jarrow’s scenic West Park over three nights.

They warned the perpetrators their crimes will not be tolerated – and pledged to crackdown if they are identified.

The Friends of West Park Jarrow group also slammed those responsible – and called on parents to prevent their children’s criminal behaviour.

The picnic bench up in flames. Picture: Friends of West Park group.

And council chiefs described the suspected young arsonists’ actions as “senseless” and warned they damaged local finances.

Their joint response came after a £500 wooden picnic bench, paid for by the Friends, was set alight on Thursday, November 19.

Just 24 hours later, wooden fence panels were smashed in a second deliberate act of vandalism.

And on Sunday evening a fire was started on the concrete base of the wooden roofed bandstand, with a further arson attack just outside the park.

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The damage caused in the blaze.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated, and an investigation has been launched to identify those responsible.

“Anyone found to have been involved can expect to be dealt with swiftly and robustly. Increased patrols are being carried out.”

A Friends of West Park Jarrow spokesman said: “This isn’t really a police problem, it’s a parent problem.

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“Of course, the police can catch these people, but parents really need to be taking responsibility for their children.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the bench.

“The Friends have put their hearts and souls into looking after this park, it’s heart-breaking to see this vandalism.

“If there was a village for idiots then these people would be the biggest idiots there.”

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And a South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “This vandalism is not only senseless, it is a drain on council resources as costs for repairs will be picked up by taxpayers.

“It is also extremely disheartening for all those involved in looking after the park, such as our community groups, who do a great deal of work in their free time to keep the park looking its best.”

Northumbria Police can be contacted via its 'Tell Us Something' page of its website or the 101 phone line.

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