VANDALS trashed a children’s play park and played football on a bowling green – even though a sports area for young people was just yards away.
The children’s play area in Firth Park, Heckmondwike, was covered in offensive graffiti and rubbish strewn everywhere when Coun Steve Hall visited it on Monday.
Coun Hall (Lab, Heck) said the park had been covered in rubbish on Friday so he had gone back to clear it up on Sunday – but by Monday it was even worse, with graffiti covering play equipment and large stones dumped on the bowling green to use as goalposts.
He said he could not understand why the youths used the green, when there was a floodlit multi use games area for playing football just metres away.
He said: “What possesses these idiots to do something like this? Seating areas, stones and benches have all been sprayed and the amount of rubbish was unbelievable.
“They have snapped a metal bar off to get to the bowling green, and on one of the bowling greens they have put some large stones down as goalposts.
“The green had been cut and rollered last week to prepare it for the bowls season. The big stones are part of a rockery and they are large so it must be teenagers, not young children, that have done it.”
A new boules court has just been created in the park, as has a cricket practice area. The tennis courts have been refurbished and the pavilion upgraded, with a new roof and kitchen.
Coun Hall said: “We have spent a lot of money in Firth Park and at times like this you wonder whether it’s worthwhile.
“I cannot understand why anyone would do something like this. It’s just mindless vandalism.
“It is so disappointing. We have been working hard with the local community to improve facilities in the park and for someone to do this to the children’s play area is just disgraceful.”
An official opening of the park is planned for May 26, and Coun Hall vowed the damage would not affect the celebration.
He said: “We will arrange for the graffiti to be removed in time for the official opening, however this is a criminal act and I hope those responsible will think about what they have done.”
He said the park keepers may have to roller the bowling green grass again.
He added: “It’s all extra work for them.
“You can talk to some of these kids until you’re blue in the face and they still don’t take any notice.
“The only way is to fine them and if they can’t pay, their parents should.”