Scrap thieves target children's play park in Hartlepool - forcing equipment removal as school summer holidays began

A piece of children’s play equipment has had to be taken out of a Hartlepool park after being repeatedly targeted by suspected metal thieves.

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 10:21 am

It was one of two features that have been removed from the children’s playground in Ward Jackson Park by council officials.

One had had sections repeatedly stolen to be sold for scrap metal, it is believed, while the other had become too old.

Hartlepool Borough Council says it is looking into replacing the items but warns it cannot afford to keep doing so.

The playground at Ward Jackson Park. Picture by Frank Reid

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It is also looking to beef up security with new CCTV cameras.

A notice pinned to the playground last week said a section of the play park was closed until further notice for refurbishment.

But the council says all areas of the playground are now open apart from a fenced-off section where a climbing frame was removed.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “Two items of play equipment have been removed from the play area at Ward Jackson Park.

The children's playground at Ward Jackson Park. Picture by Frank Reid

“The first was removed as it had reached the end of its life – it was actually the oldest piece of play equipment in the town. Over time it had been repaired on a number of occasions, but ultimately it was deemed no longer fit for use.

“The second was removed as it was regularly targeted by individuals who were stealing sections of the structure for scrap metal. We were unable to replace the missing sections of the structure without replacing the full piece of equipment at a significant cost, and so the decision was taken to remove the item.

“We are looking at additional security measures in the area including installing CCTV, as well as more robust, cost-effective structures which could replace those we have had to remove, so that families can once again enjoy this great facility.”

“The council cannot afford to keep replacing vandalised play equipment and takes these acts of criminal damage very seriously - when play parks are targeted by mindless vandalism, the whole community suffers.”