Whitburn park set alight and destroyed in third vandalism incident in recent months
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The play area at Cornthwaite Park in Whitburn is believed to have been damaged by vandals last Thursday night, November 18 after the destruction was discovered by Council staff the following morning.
It was only three weeks ago that the play area was cleaned after being daubed with graffiti and in September, the park had been repainted following vandalism during the summer.
Now, significant damage has been caused to the children’s climbing frame and slide after being set alight.
Following the incident, South Tyneside Council temporarily closed the park to remove the damaged section of equipment and flooring, and to make the area safe.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council and Whitburn ward councillor, said: “We are absolutely devastated to see the park in this state. It’s heart-breaking to see. It is particularly disappointing that the children’s play area has been targeted for a third time in a matter of months.
“The council works hard to make our parks enjoyable and safe place for our children to play. This mindless destruction prevents the park from being used by the community.
"It’s appalling that there is a small minority of people who are intent on spoiling this facility, which is well-used and enjoyed by local families and children.”
Council bosses say arrangements are being made for the equipment to be replaced at the earliest opportunity.
Inspector Denise Easdon, of Northumbria Police, said: “This type of criminality will not be tolerated, and an investigation is ongoing to identify those responsible. This play equipment is there for the enjoyment of our communities – so for somebody to deliberately damage it in this way is absolutely appalling.
“We will continue to work with the council as part of our investigation and anyone found to have been involved can expect to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101 quoting crime number 129351A/21.