Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Spate of vandalism in Darlington play parks runs up huge repair bill
A SENIOR councillor has hit out at the ‘mindless vandals’ who have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to play parks across Darlington this summer.
A spate of attacks at different parks, including The Denes and Eastbourne park, has seen safety matting torn up and equipment set on fire.
Councillor Nick Wallis, cabinet member for leisure and local environment at Darlington Borough Council, said vandalism of public property was not a victimless crime, but pledged that all parks would be repaired as soon as possible.
The most recent attack, at Eastbourne Park, took place between September 10 and 12 when vandals set fire to the birds nest climbing frame, causing irreparable damage to the equipment and the safety matting underneath.
The repair bill for the damage is estimated to be £2,000.
Last week, The Denes play park was attacked by vandals who tore up chunks of the safety matting, which is expected to cost £2,500 to replace.
The Denes play area has been hit several times over the summer holidays including an arson attack that caused £1,000 worth of damage and another attack on the safety matting, which cost £800 to repair.
Councillor Wallis described the vandalism as ‘disappointing’ and urged anyone who knew anything about the attacks to contact police.
He said: “Clearly a lot of children who enjoy using the play parks will have that enjoyment disturbed while we carry out repairs.
“Some people think that attacking publicly owned parks and equipment is a victimless crime, but it costs the tax payer, the insurance companies and it also causes inconvenience to local communities.
“The people who did this, whether they are adults or children, must have used playgrounds before and they are stopping the younger generation getting the same enjoyment.”
Asked if the council could afford to keep replacing damaged equipment, Coun Wallis said: “We’ve got no plans not to replace it. I’m working with local ward councillors to get the equipment back in place as soon as possible.
“We have CCTV at the parks, which the police are aware of.”
Anyone with information about the acts of vandalism are asked to contact Darlington Police on 101, quoting DJ1305558.
Comments are closed on this article.