'An absolute disgrace': Arsonists attack playground for second time

A children's play area was left badly damaged after being set alight by arsonists in the second attack in as many months.

'An absolute disgrace': Arsonists attack playground for second time

The park on Heath Way, Heath Hayes, was targeted by vandals at around 10.30pm on Sunday night.

The attack follows a similar incident in October which saw a play park on the former site of Cannock Stadium being damaged.

Police spokesman Sarah Davison said: "We received a report of a fire at a children's play area on Heath Way, Heath Hayes, Cannock at about 10.20pm on Sunday.

"The fire was deliberate and caused extensive damage."

All that remains of the playground

Councillor Colin Lea, who represents Heath Hayes East, has branded the attack a 'disgrace'.

He said: "I am absolutely disgusted by this.

"To target a children's playground is an absolute disgrace, there is no question about that.

"These morons don't seem to realise that acts like this have a knock-on effect and end up costing the taxpayer money."

The burned slide and climbing frame in the playground off Pye Green Road, Cannock

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that they sent one crew from Cannock to the incident with them arriving on scene at 10.26pm.

Although the fire was quickly extinguished, with the crew being released at 10.48pm, officers from Staffordshire Police were also called.

Councillor Mike Sutherland, who visited the park the day after the fire to see the damage, said: "For me this is an outrageous and appalling thing to happen.

"The saddest thing is that this is depriving young children and families of using what was a really nice facility.

"You would hope it could be fixed quickly but the fact is this will take some time, it is a tragedy really."

On Saturday, October 3, yobs destroyed brand new equipment at another children's playground in Cannock in a similar mindless arson attack.

The vandals struck at Cannock sports stadium in Pye Green Road. The act of destruction prompted parents to set up a fundraising campaign to get the damaged equipment replaced.

Cannock firefighters were called to the scene just after 10pm. The new play area for toddlers and juniors – part of a £1.3 million investment – had been open less than three months.

Firefighters spent half an hour battling the blaze at the popular park, launched on June 23 after years of campaigning by local families.

The play equipment was devastated by the blaze

They said they were shocked by the damage to the slide and climbing frame. Many children were in tears.

Pye Green Road resident Leroy Francis, aged 53, who visited the park regularly with his son Isaac, described the vandalism as 'disgusting'.

He told the Express & Star after the attack: "The council spends a lot of money on facilities like this. It is a play area that is well used by families in the area.

"It's really popular and I think whoever is responsible for setting fire to it should be caught and dealt with appropriately by the police. They have tried to ruin a perfectly good park."

The design of the equipment incorporated the mining history of the town and an athletics track. Children from surrounding schools had been invited to help with the design.

The whole investment included a multi-use games area, adventure play area, mountain bike trail, illuminated pathways and cycle trails, car parking, community allotments and the provision of trim trail exercise equipment.

The park is situated next to the SNAP – Special Needs Adventure Playground – which was not affected by the blaze.

Police investigating the latest attack confirmed that enquiries into the circumstances of the fire are continuing and anyone with any information is asked to call 101, quoting incident 730 of November 22.

Alternatively, they can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous report form at www-crimestoppers-uk.org. Details cannot be traced and they will not go to court.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News