Anger an upset as vandals trash popular Jarrow play park just months after it was repaired following arson attack

Vandals have trashed a popular children’s playground just months after it was repaired following a suspected arson attack.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:16 pm
The damaged mosaic shields at Charlie’s Park, Jarrow.

The much-loved Anglo-Saxon ship at Charlie’s Park, near Jarrow Hall, was replaced last summer after it was partially destroyed at the beginning of 2020. The rubber flooring surrounding the structure was also damaged.

Now families who use the playpark and council chiefs have been left dismayed after vandals struck for a second time.

Mosaic murals depicting the ship’s shields were smashed over the weekend, and some of the timber slats on the park’s seats have also been damaged.

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Councillor Ernest Gibson

“It is extremely disheartening that within months of the play ship being replaced, it has been subject to such mindless vandalism once again due to a small minority intent on spoiling things for others,” said Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council.

“Our children’s play parks are one of the few outdoor activities that our youngsters have been able to enjoy during the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

“This park is a much-loved space and well-used by local families and news of the fire last year caused an outpouring of upset and anger from the community."

Cllr Gibson said council teams were swift on the scene after reports the murals had been damaged, clearing up the broken pieces left strewn over the play equipment.

"Not only is this a criminal act, but a small child could have been really hurt while playing there,” he said.

“We condemn this disgraceful, destructive behaviour and would appeal for anyone with information about those responsible to contact the police.”

The ship is the centrepiece of the play park which sits between Jarrow Hall and St Paul’s Church, off Church Bank. It opened in 2010.

The shields have now been removed from the site to enable the council to assess the damage and determine whether they can be repaired or replaced. Following a safety inspection, the park remains open.

Inspector Denise Easdon, of Northumbria Police, said: “Intentional acts of criminal damage like this are totally unacceptable and can destroy the spirit of togetherness within our communities.

“We know that the mindless actions of a minority can have a significant and detrimental effect on others and it’s especially disappointing that this play park has now been targeted twice in such a short period of time.

“Officers are carrying out a range of enquiries, working alongside the Council, to identify those responsible and anyone found to have been involved can expect to be dealt with swiftly.”

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101, quoting log 282060321.

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