Appeal to find mindless vandals who torched kids’ play area

Published Wednesday, 18th April 2018

Arsonists have torched a local playground ride for youngsters at a popular Green Flag park.

The vandals targeted a children’s play area in Shoebury Park, meaning the Council, and ultimately the local taxpayer, will have to foot the estimated £15,000 bill to fully replace the damaged equipment.

The damage happened sometime last night (Tuesday 17 April) and Essex County Fire and Rescue attended the scene to extinguish the fire. The cause of fire is believed to be from the vandals’ obtaining a number of disposable barbecues and using the easy-light charcoal to ignite the flames. The play park will remain open, with the damaged equipment being fenced off whilst the replacement is arranged.

Scott Dolling, Director of Culture, Tourism and Property, said: “This mindless act of vandalism is very disappointing and we as a Council, and more importantly the local taxpayer, are now left to pay for an individual or group’s totally unacceptable behaviour.

“The parks team work extremely hard all year round to create a welcoming and attractive place for residents and visitors alike to relax and bring their children to. Acts like this tarnish the local area and spoil the enjoyment of others.

“We urge anyone with information to contact Essex Police on 101 so that they can catch those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Shoebury Park is a Green Flag park and in November 2014 the Council replaced the former outdated play area with a new, £160,000 play area, complete with a host of equipment, including a zip-wire, roundabout and climbing frame. Since the new play area was installed, it has become a popular attraction with local families and visitors.

Anyone with information regarding the arson attack is urged to contact Essex Police on 101.