Bury St Edmunds play area on Tayfen Reserve out of action after arson attack
A popular children's play area in Bury St Edmunds is out of action after an arson attack which damaged a climbing frame over the weekend.
The equipment at Tayfen Reserve, off Spring Lane, was targeted late on Saturday night and will cost between £15,000 to £20,000 to replace.
Councillors have slammed the culprits for damaging the area, which was upgraded with new equipment last summer following a public consultation and is well-used by families.
Cllr Julia Wakelam said: "It's just totally mindless vandalism. It's really sad and I think it really lets the whole town down when people behave like that.
"I don't see how anyone can get any satisfaction out of doing that - it's pathetic really.
"It's always been a bit of a problem that playground because for reasons I don't understand it was added onto the edge of the (housing) development.
"If you have play areas in the centre, they get policed in that there are houses around them.
"It's badly situated but there's nothing we can do about that now."
It's just totally mindless vandalism - Cllr Julia Wakelam
Cllr David Nettleton said it appeared something had been set alight on the ground, which then damaged the equipment.
He said the play area was 'very popular' with children and he was 'disappointed' it had been targeted.
"It's potentially dangerous to set fire to anything," he said. "It's obviously somebody who needs some sort of psychiatric help and they should hopefully be found and given the right treatment for that sort of problem."
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to the incident at 11.56pm on Saturday and had dealt with it by 12.18am.
They also tackled a bin fire, in Out Westgate, at 11.07pm on Saturday.
Police are treating both incidents as arson.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which owns the equipment, confirmed the play area had been temporarily closed.
Cllr Jo Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “It goes without saying that I’m appalled at the senseless burning of this newly installed and much used play equipment over the weekend.
"The play area has been temporarily closed for removal of the debris, and we hope to fence the damaged area to allow use of the remaining pieces of equipment.
"The estimated replacement cost for the item of equipment and surfacing is between £15,000 and £20,000.
"The local police would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has any information about who might be responsible."
Call Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference 962/19.