Teenage vandal who trashed village play park to write letter of apology

Vandalism to Great Blakenham play park. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Vandalism to Great Blakenham play park. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

A teenager who admitted vandalising a play park and village hall will write a letter apology for the crime – and pay £100 compensation.

Vandalism to Great Blakenham play park. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Vandalism to Great Blakenham play park. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

Villagers were left “disgusted” when climbing frames, swings and other play park at Great Blakenham Village Hall were daubed with white spray paint in a night-time attack.

Guttering and pipes at the village hall were also pulled down during the incident on Tuesday, July 31.

Residents said they were “devastated” by the attack – but in a show of defiance they rallied round to fix the damage, with an “army” of players from Great Blakenham Chequers Football Club putting themselves forward to clean up the mess.

On Tuesday, September 4, a 15-year-old was interviewed at Hadleigh Police Station about the incident at the site in Mill Lane, Great Blakenham.

Vandalism at Great Blakenham Village Hall. Picture: PC DAVE WRIGHT/SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Vandalism at Great Blakenham Village Hall. Picture: PC DAVE WRIGHT/SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

The young person fully admitted causing the damage, with police deciding to deal with it by way of a “community resolution” – whereby the offender was asked to cover the cost of the clean-up and write a letter of apology.

The youth was also given words of advice by the police, with the £100 compensation covering the cost of the paint, brushes and cleaning materials.

Pc Dave Wright, community engagement officer for Ipswich West Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Police would like to thank the local community for the information they provided which ultimately led to the name of the youth.”

The response from the community to the attack was overwhelming.

Villagers in Great Blakenham clean up a vandalised play park. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Villagers in Great Blakenham clean up a vandalised play park. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

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Just days after the vandalism, 12 players and members of their families – children included – pitched in the help clean up the mess.

They even repainted some non-vandalised equipment during their two hours of hard graft on Monday, August 13, just to make sure the whole park was up to scratch.

Kieran Doggett, chairman of Great Blakenham Chequers Football Club, said the clean-up was “good for the community” and showed a “team spirit” within the village.

And after the incident Mr Doggett sent a defiant message to the perpetrator that villagers would not be beaten, saying: “There’s only ever going to be one winner – and that’s Great Blakenham.”

Of the vandalism, he said: “I can’t see it happening again to be honest,” adding that the clean-up had “sent a powerful message of the community coming together”.

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