Hefty repair bill as ‘mindless’ vandals strike South Ribble recreation sites

Vandalism at Withy Grove Park, Bamber Bridge

Vandalism at Withy Grove Park, Bamber Bridge

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“Mindless” vandals struck at two South Ribble recreation sites on the same night, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

The first incident took place in Cockshott Wood, Walton-le-Dale, which underwent a £35,000 makeover by South Ribble Council less than a year ago.

Firefighters were called at 8pm on Tuesday to tackle a four-metre long blaze on the boardwalk, which runs through the wood from Pear Tree Crescent to Duddle Lane.

The boardwalk, which was installed in October, is made from recycled plastic, making the material very difficult to light. Therefore experts believe an accelerant was used to start the fire.

The boardwalk is still useable, but the damaged section will need replacing and repairing at a cost of £1,000 and will be done when materials can be sourced.

In another act on the same night - though not believed to be linked - a group swing on the children’s playground at Withy Grove Park in Bamber Bridge was snapped from its frame and left beyond repair.

The site has been made safe and the damage will be assessed by the council’s playground technician before a decision is made.

It is believed the cost of replacement will be at least £1,000.

Coun Peter Mullineaux, South Ribble Council cabinet member for Neighbourhoods condemned the act of vandalism.

He said: “These acts of vandalism done to much-loved areas of our borough which many adults, children and families enjoy using on a daily basis are terrible and completely mindless.

“I am disgusted that this has happened, less than a year after the considerable time, effort and money ploughed into improving Cockshott Wood and also at such a popular park, Withy Grove.

“We are determined to do everything in our power to help police track down those responsible and urge residents to do the same.”

If anyone knows of any information related to any of these incidents, they are urged to contact local police by phoning 101 or calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.