Vandals slammed after wrecking spree at play park

Phil Hepburn, Hartlepool Council Environmental Enforcement Team Leader, Garry Jones, the Councils  Team Leader, Operations, Grounds Maintenance, Councillor Paul Beck and Rob Kendon beside the damaged bandstand.

Phil Hepburn, Hartlepool Council Environmental Enforcement Team Leader, Garry Jones, the Councils Team Leader, Operations, Grounds Maintenance, Councillor Paul Beck and Rob Kendon beside the damaged bandstand.

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Angry residents have hit out at yobs who have caused extensive damage to a Hartlepool park.

The teenage vandals who carried out the wrecking spree at a play park on a town housing estate earlier this week have been condemned by the ward councillor and residents.

Councillor Paul Beck, Rob Kendon and Garry Jones with some of the broken trees

Councillor Paul Beck, Rob Kendon and Garry Jones with some of the broken trees

Ten semi-mature trees, worth about £2,000, were destroyed during the mindless attack and an aluminium roof panel was dislodged from a bandstand feature within the play area at Bishop Cuthbert.

The damage occurred at around 9.30pm on Monday, a time when it has been reported that a gang of up to 40 or 50 youths was spotted in the area.

But, this is not the first time the gangs of vandals have hit and residents are becoming increasingly frustrated at the problem.

Moves are under way for the council to increase CCTV coverage at the site and police are being asked to step up patrols in the area.

Such wanton damage can’t be allowed to go on

Coun Paul Beck

Councillor Paul Beck, vice-chairman of Hartlepool Council’s North and Coastal Neighbourhood Forum and a councillor for the Hart Ward, which includes Bishop Cuthbert, hit out at the vandalism, saying it cannot be allowed to continue in this way.

He said: “This is just the latest in a series of incidents at the play park but it is certainly the most serious.

“We are receiving lots of complaints from many of the young families living in the area that their enjoyment of what is an excellent community facility is being spoiled by vandals.”

He went on to say: “Such wanton damage can’t be allowed to go on and action must be taken to ensure it is stopped.”

Rob Kendon, chairman of the Bishop Cuthbert Residents’ Association, said the vandals seem intent on ruining things for others.

He said: “The council does a good job repairing damage, removing broken glass and clearing litter, but its staff cannot be on site 24/7 to respond to the behaviour of a mindless few who seem determined to wreck the area.”

Coun Beck added: “A proposal for an additional CCTV camera covering the park will be considered by the council’s Finance and Policy Committee next week and if that receives approval then it should help to make a difference.

“I will be asking the police to treat the area around the play park as a ward priority, and I would also urge people who witness incidents to report them immediately to the police so that they can be logged.”

Police have confirmed they are making inquiries into the most recent incident.

A Cleveland Police spokesman, said: “We received a report of criminal damage at Bishop Cuthbert Park at around 9.30pm on Monday.

“Officers attended the scene and an investigation is being carried out into the damage.

“Anyone found to be committing acts of criminal damage may find themselves in a court of law.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Cleveland Police on 101.”