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'Senseless burning' of popular children's play park slammed

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 10 January 2019

The play equipment that was set on fire at the Tayfen Meadows estate has now been removed Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The play equipment that was set on fire at the Tayfen Meadows estate has now been removed Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

A well-used children's play area that was upgraded with a £50,000 cash injection has been damaged in an arson attack.

The climbing frame has bene removed and the area fenced off while repairs take place Picture MARIAM GHAEMIThe climbing frame has bene removed and the area fenced off while repairs take place Picture MARIAM GHAEMI

The play park on the Tayfen Meadows estate in Bury St Edmunds was vandalised late on Saturday, January 5.

A piece of equipment including a climbing frame and slide was set on fire and has since been removed while repairs – estimated to cost £15,000 to £20,000 – are carried out.

The play area, managed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, was revamped last summer following feedback from families.

Jo Rayner, who is responsible for leisure and culture at the authority, said she was “appalled at the senseless burning of this newly-installed and much-used play equipment”.

The rest of the play area is still open for people to use Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIThe rest of the play area is still open for people to use Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

Fellow councillor Julia Wakelam said it was “shocking” someone would vandalise such a “wonderful facility” for local families.

“I just think it’s a real shame.

“I just cannot understand why anybody would do that.

“What possible pleasure can you get out of setting fire to some play equipment? It seems mad to me.”

She said the location of the play area on the edge of the estate wasn’t ideal, adding if it had been in the centre the vandalism would be less likely to take place.

Councillor David Nettleton said it seemed someone had set light to the protective matting underneath the play equipment.

He said: “You never know what might happen with a fire like that.

“It was a highly dangerous activity to take part in.”

The climbing frame in question is out of action and has been fenced off, but the rest of the play park remains open.

Mr Nettleton hoped the repairs would be complete by the spring.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said they were called by the fire service shortly after 12.10am on Sunday, January 6, following reports of a fire in the play area in Fen Way.

At some point shortly before midnight it is believed an unknown offender set light to the play equipment, she said.

Fire crews attended and requested assistance from police.

Anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity or has any information about the crime should contact Suffolk police on 101, quoting crime reference 37/962/19.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form here.

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