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Felixstowe: Youngsters slammed after CCTV wrecked at skatepark

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 June 2011

Happier times - youngsters enjoying the official opening of Felixstowe skatepark two years ago.

Happier times - youngsters enjoying the official opening of Felixstowe skatepark two years ago.

Archant

COMMUNITY leaders have branded a spate of vandalism at a £180,000 skatepark as "totally unacceptable".

Lighting and CCTV cameras were smashed at the facility on Orwell Green and the rock cages around the site broken open earlier this month.

Police are investigating the damage, which has shocked and disappointed community leaders who worked hard to find the finance to build the park after a 20-year campaign by two generations of youngsters for a skateboard and BMX site.

Mayor Doreen Savage said closure of the park had been considered but this would have hurt the responsible and well-behaved young people who loved going there and using it.

“I made the suggestion that we should close it and the working party discussed the possibility,” she said.

“But we then took the view that we would be punishing all the young people involved in this matter by doing that and that would not achieve anything and would impact on those young people who do use the area properly.

“This vandalism is absolutely shocking.

“The CCTV was just ripped out and there has been damage to one of the floodlights as well.”

Around the site are wire cages containing rocks as part of the landscaping and soundproofing, and these had been cut open and some rocks removed.

“It is totally unacceptable. This is a facility we have worked hard to provide because the youngsters wanted it and it’s been treated with disregard and disrespect by I don’t know who,” said Mrs Savage, a town and district councillor.

“I tend to think that it’s not the users of the skatepark but I am still quite shocked that anyone should cause such damage.”

The projected cost of repairs was “quite astounding” and the district council was talking to its insurers.

Deputy mayor Mike Deacon said: “I find it quite distressing that vandalism on this scale is happening in our town.”

The town council has agreed to ask police to step up their patrols around the site in Grange Farm Avenue.

Police are now visiting the site regularly during the evenings to keep an eye on potential problems.

The town council’s play and leisure working party was told there were also problems of under-age drinking and territorial behaviour by some older youngsters deterring enthusiastic genuine skatepark users.

Suffolk Coastal Services has 
visited the site to ensure the electricity supply to damaged equipment is safe.

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