Vandals described as “imbecile teenagers” have been branded “absolutely disgraceful” for leaving a children’s playpark unusable after a rampage of destruction at the weekend.
Families visiting the Jubilee Park play area in Langlee during this week’s Easter holidays arrived on Monday morning to find yet more of the equipment has been put out of action due to damage by vandals.
The damage, thought to have been inflicted on Sunday evening, included parts of the playpark’s flooring being ripped up and a children’s slide apparently being urinated on.
Langlee resident Thomas Douglas’s three children regularly play in the park, and he said: “The worst part is the flooring. Quite a large part of that has been ripped up and thrown across other areas of the park.
“Someone has urinated down the big slide, there’s spray paint on the toddler’s area, and they have poured fizzy juice all over that area too.
“They have went and burnt the plastic on some of the equipment – that has been like that two or three months – and some of the spray paint has been there for a while too.”
Fellow resident Sharon Johnston said: “It was funded by the National Lottery, and it has been totally wrecked by imbecile teenagers.
“We know it is much older kids that are frequently in there at night-time. They are clearly doing the damage, but as for who they are we do not know.
“We have had some damage before but they have just been out to totally destroy the place this time. It is absolutely disgraceful.”
Ms Johnston visited the park on Tuesday with her grandchildren, aged four years, 19 months and 16 months, and she says she was disgusted at the state of it.
“My grandkids were going around wanting to pick up the rubbish and mess and even told me about the urine on the chute.
“It’s just impossible for them to play on anything now, so we are having to take them to Woodstock Park at the bottom end of Langlee.”
Langlee Residents’ Association raised more than £100,000 through lottery grants and fundraising to build the play park in 2012, but since then the Beech Avenue development has been targeted by vandals repeatedly.
Each time, money has been found by the community to repair the park’s equipment, but residents are fast running out of patience.
Mr Douglas said: “It’s a brilliant park for the kids when everything is in one piece and not damaged, but that’s not been the case for a while, and everybody is just getting annoying with it now.
“There are now only two pieces of equipment left that are in proper use, and now I just refuse to let my kids go up there because it is disgusting.”
He is now calling for increased lighting around the park in the hope that will deter further damage being done at night, while Ms Johnston wants to see alterations to the layout to the play area more visible, as well as working CCTV cameras.
“The wall around the small park needs to be taken down as you can’t see into that part at all, so it’s a prime area for them to destroy,” she added. “I think better lighting would be a major deterrent, and the fact that the damage has been done repeatedly and nobody has been caught suggests the cameras don’t work either.”
The park was named in honour of the Queen’s golden jubilee in 2012 and boasts an array of facilities including a giant seesaw, swings, slide and climbing wall.