ARSONISTS who set fire to a childrens’ play area in Mendlesham on Friday night have caused hundreds of pounds of damage and rendered the site useless for weeks.
It is believed the fire started in a waste bin adjacent to the playing field in Mill Road, spread to fencing the bin was secured to and was so intense that the heat caused play equipment 3ft away to melt.
“It’s just sad for the little ones. For a relatively small fire, it’s caused quite a lot of damage to what is quite an important area for the children,” said David Nunn, chairman of Mendlesham Parish Council.
The fire service was called shortly before midnight to reports of a fire on the playing field near Mendlesham Primary School.
Crews from Stowmarket arrived on scene to find play equipment on fire and, on discovering it was started deliberately, they passed their findings to police for investigation.
Sharon Jones, clerk to Mendlesham Parish Council, said it was estimated the cost of repairs and replacements would cost around £800, even with volunteers donating their time free of charge.
The area is expected to remain cordoned off for at least two weeks, although other areas of the playing field will continue to be made available for use by the community.
Mr Nunn, one of several councillors who helped make the site safe after the incident, said: “I feel that it’s a shame but we must not get too wound up about it.
“It happens, it’s one of those things that in Mendlesham we don’t see as much of as we might do in other towns or cities and we have to deal with it, pay for it to be repaired and move forward.”
Confirming an investigation was under way, a spokesman for Suffolk Police said: “We are appealing for witnesses and making proper inquiries to gather intelligence.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101.