THIEVES have stolen £20,000 worth of equipment from a new children’s play park
Hartlepool Borough Council bosses are appealing for support from the local community to help halt a series of thefts and vandalism.
The Middle Warren Play Area and Neighbourhood Park opened in May to serve the Middle Warren and Bishop Cuthbert estates.
The state-of-the-art play area was funded by housing developer Leebell and built by construction firm NEDCO.
Council chiefs say in reason weeks parts of the play equipment have been removed by thieves, trees have been snapped and graffiti has appeared.
The stolen play equipment included five rotating bars and seats from a swing and safety bars from a children’s roundabout.
The estimated replacement value for the parts is £20,000.
Hart ward councillor Paul Beck, who used some of his ward budget allocation to help fund the official opening in May, said: “The communities living in the Bishop Cuthbert and Middle Warren areas waited patiently for years to get a new play area and it’s extremely disappointing to see it being attacked in this manner.
“The feeling is that the removal of the play equipment parts is organised crime and the thieves will be looking to sell these on or seek scrap metal value.
“The thefts and vandalism have been reported to the police and I would urge anyone who has any information to get in touch straightway.
“It’s so important to protect facilities such as this and the council will be stepping up its security patrols in the weeks ahead.”
As well as swings and roundabouts, the play park boasts an enclosed multi-games area, climbing frames and a 40metre zip-wire ride. It also features an attractive bandstand, walkways, landscaping, disabled access and car parking.
Children from Throston Primary School were consulted about the type of play equipment that should be provided during the design stage.
The play park is located in Crocus Gardens, off Osprey Way, and adjacent to Hartfields retirement complex.
Anyone with information is advised to contact the police on 101. Alternatively, people can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.