Vandals’ £40k wrecking spree at park

Vandals have caused �40,000 worth of damage at Queen's Park. They have ripped up rubber matting, fences, trees and set fire to them.'Stephen Hyde and Acting Sgt Dave Walker
Vandals have caused �40,000 worth of damage at Queen's Park. They have ripped up rubber matting, fences, trees and set fire to them.'Stephen Hyde and Acting Sgt Dave Walker

Children have been left with nowhere to play after vandals caused £40,000 worth of damage in a wrecking spree at a park.

Yobs have torn up specialist protective surfaces, set fire to wooden skate park ramps and broken fences and trees at Queen’s Park in Airedale during the past month.

The play area at the park is closed and vandals have also lit fires in the park’s bandstand.

Stephen Hyde, chairman of the Friends of Queen’s Park, said: “There is an unbelievable amount of damage and it is just so disappointing.

“It was myself that raised the money for the play area and skate park on behalf of the group.

“We raised £84,000 for the improvements and facilities at the park and for them to be destroyed is just such a shame.”

As well as tearing up the specialist flooring, vandals have also broken fence panels and set them alight.

Mr Hyde said a ‘chill zone’ consisting of benches and seating had also been destroyed.

The area was built in 2007 following consultation with youngsters in the area.

Mr Hyde said: “With the damage to the playground, fires in the chill zone area and the items they have damaged to burn, I would put a replacement value at around £40,000.

“We simply cannot afford to replace all of the equipment at a cost like that.”

The vandalism comes just three months after similar incidents in Green Park, Ferry Fryston and Lock Lane Play Area.

Airedale councillor Les Shaw said: “This is getting silly now. Lots of people use the parks and it’s affecting kids and it’s affecting families.

“I think there are people out there who know who is responsible for what’s been going on and I think it’s about time the community passes on information to the police - that’s the only way we’ll stop it.”

Insp Geoff Carter, of Castleford neighbourhood police team, asked for anyone with any information about the vandalism to get in touch.

He said: “It’s ridiculous that we have got people that are damaging items that have been purposely placed there for the benefit of the community.

“We have now got a state-of-the art playground that was built specifically for youngsters in Airedale that is completely out of action due to mindless vandalism.

“If anybody has got any information about who has been involved with this I would ask them to get in touch because it is our community they are ruining.”

Anyone with any information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.