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Arson attack on Preston play park

    By Nicola Watson  
       
   

THE COMMUNITY of Preston and Humberside Police are appealing for witnesses following an arson attack on the village’s play park.

Play equipment on Preston Playing Field was severely damaged sometime between 11.30pm on Saturday, April 6 and 9.30am on Sunday, April 7 with Humberside Fire and Rescue Service in attendance between 5am and 5.30am.

The popular ‘Ship’ play slide and climbing frame was attacked resulting in the its plastic melting. The surrounding grass was also burnt but the source of the ignition is unknown and is under investigation.

Because the play equipment is damaged beyond repair it will be closed for some time due to safety reasons.

The play park on the playing field was constructed in December 2013 following a £115,000 fundraising campaign. It was part funded by the Preston residents and the Preston Parish Council, who are trustees of the park.

The Preston Playing Field Charity worked over four years to raised £115,000 for the equipment to be installed and aside from a smaller green space at Preston South, the Addison Road facility is the only play park within the parish of Preston.

Preston Parish Council clerk, Jayne Ramsden told the Gazette there had been one incident last year in which a swing was damaged and more recently part of an electrical element to a piece of equipment was damaged.

“We do have CCTV and we are speaking with the police who will be looking at the CCTV footage. This was a lovely piece of equipment. From the village’s perspective, people are gobsmacked that this has happened. This has had a massive effect, with it being Easter the park would have been quite busy. Now it is all boarded up. After all those years of fundraising, people must be heartbroken. We are now waiting to hear as to how we move forward, but it may mean starting to fundraise all over again.”

Preston Playing Field Charity spokesperson Lyn Carmichael said: “It’s devastating. There are no words to describe how upsetting and heart-breaking it was to go and see that equipment. This piece was for younger children from threeyears-old to eight-years-old and now they have no equipment to play on. It took four years of constant fundraising to get that park there. We will raise money and we will replace that piece of equipment. We are determined to carry on building our community. We, and residents, are all pulling together, we will be holding fundraising events. We are upset, but we are turning that anger into something positive and that is how to move forward.”

Police Community Support Officer Darren Bainton said: “I am absolutely appalled this senseless act has caused such devastation. I’m sure the young users of the park will be devastated their favourite piece of play equipment is now destroyed, especially as we are heading into the school Easter holidays. Please help us catch those responsible, we can’t let such a dangerous and mindless act go unpunished.”

Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious around this time or in the area is know who is responsible, is asked to call the Police on 101 and quote Police Investigation number 16/45047/19. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on: 0800 555 111.

 
         
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