Vandals leave trail of destruction at popular play park

DAMAGED The steps to the pavilion have been cordoned off after vandals removed slabs                                                   Picture: Ken Smith

DAMAGED The steps to the pavilion have been cordoned off after vandals removed slabs Picture: Ken Smith

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MINDLESS vandalism at a historic park has been condemned – and community leaders have vowed to put a stop to it.

Louts have ruined other people’s enjoyment by trashing a brand-new piece of play equipment and vandalising the pavilion at Bidbury Mead in Bedhampton.

In the last year, following a massive community effort, around £100,000 has been spent sprucing up the park and installing state-of-the-art play equipment.

But vandals struck under the cover of darkness and removed a large cradle and its fixings from a play swing that has been hugely popular over the summer with families. The brackets were tossed aside on the grass and the cradle was taken away.

‘We think they must have gone down there fully equipped with a tool kit,’ said Bedhampton Councillor Ken Smith.

‘It’s disgraceful.

‘It’s sad the council and community do their best to make Havant a nice place to live.

‘There’s a minority, a nasty minority, who are bent on spoiling things.’

In another incident, vandals removed paving slabs from the steps of the pavilion, which is used by Bedhampton Mariners Cricket Club and local football teams.

The slabs were left strewn across the grass.

Havant Borough Council was forced to cordon off the damage and contractors have gone in to make repairs.

A new cradle and attachment for the swing has had to be installed.

Ron Tate, project manager for Bidbury Mead Friends, which led the park makeover, said: ‘Why do people commit acts of vandalism?

‘What is the satisfaction in preventing people from something that’s very popular?’

Cllr Smith said a meeting would take place between council officers and the local police to thrash out a way forward to curb the problems.

He said: ‘We are thinking about having CCTV cameras from a lamp post, high in trees so they can’t be got at.’

He implored the culprits to think again about their crimes.

‘More respect is the big word,’ he said.

‘Not only for the community but for themselves.’

The council is also considering installing ‘mosquito’ devices, set on a timer. The devices emit a high-pitched noise that only younger people can hear.

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