Kids’ shock as vandals target playground

M & A Club sad about vandals setting fire to the play equipment at Shade Playground, with manager Natalie Naylor, back right.

M & A Club sad about vandals setting fire to the play equipment at Shade Playground, with manager Natalie Naylor, back right.

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Youngsters have been left shocked and upset after vandals tried to burn down equipment at a popular children’s playground.

Members of the M and A Club, based at Shade School, have been using the nearby playground on Knowlwood Road, Todmorden, during the summer break.

But when they arrived for a play session last week, they were faced with a scene of devastation.

Parts of the climbing frame had been burnt down and there was debris all over the playground.

Natalie Naylor, holiday club manager, said: “We didn’t realise how bad it was until we got there.

“Somebody has tried to set it on fire. Everything is covered in soot.

“The children couldn’t believe it.

“They were shocked by what they saw.”

The damage to the playground is affecting the holiday club’s plans for the remainder of the summer.

“We used to go down to the playground three or four times a day because they really like it there and it’s a safe place to play,” Natalie said.

“But we can’t do that now.”

Andrew Pitts, Calderdale Council’s head of neighbourhoods, said: “We’re shocked and disappointed by the reckless vandalism to one of the much-loved pieces of equipment in Knowlwood Road play area.

“We know how much our local communities value our popular playgrounds, especially as a place to enjoy the summer weather, so it’s a huge shame that this has happened.

“When we became aware of the damage, our playground manager made the equipment and surrounding surfacing safe.

“The debris has been cleared and we’re now looking into the repair options. Hopefully the equipment can be restored soon.

“We urge people to respect property, and we encourage families to keep visiting the playground.

“It’s safe to use and there are still lots of other great pieces of play equipment to enjoy, which have not been affected.”

Acting Inspector Aidan Hodgson, of the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of the criminal damage at the children’s playground on Knowlwood Road and would appeal to anyone who saw it happening or thinks they know who did it to get in contact.

“Incidents such as this are unacceptable - particularly when young children are deprived of an important and fun activity.”

Anybody with information about the incident is asked to contact the police by calling 101.