Arsonists destroy play equipment at playground on Newmarket Road in Royston

PUBLISHED: 10:11 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:14 11 May 2010

PLAY equipment in Royston has been destroyed in an arson attack. Equipment at the Newmarket Road play area was set alight and the affected area is now cordoned off awaiting repairs. It is the latest in a string of vandalism incidents carried out in recent

PLAY equipment in Royston has been destroyed in an arson attack.

Equipment at the Newmarket Road play area was set alight and the affected area is now cordoned off awaiting repairs.

It is the latest in a string of vandalism incidents carried out in recent months at Royston's play areas.

Cllr F John Smith, district councillor for Meridian ward, in which the playground is located, said the council would endeavour to repair or replace the equipment as soon as possible.

He said: "There is money available for maintenance in the same way that there would be for any other facility maintained by the district council.

"However, it would be better if we didn't have to spend it to combat the acts of vandals."

Cllr Smith, who is also leader of the district council, reiterated his comments, made in The Crow last year, that there is not a "bottomless pit" of money to repair playgrounds in Crow Country.

He added: "We cannot expect funding to be made available for endless repairs. Hopefully in this case the perpetrator will be found and we can recover the money from them."

Last April the district council had to spend £60,000 on repairs to play equipment in Newmarket Road and the Priory Memorial gardens.

Then three weeks later swings in the Newmarket Road park were damaged, with the district council suggesting that the damage had been caused by dogs being trained for illegal fights.

At the time Cllr Smith said: "I am appalled that this mindless minority has gone to a lot of trouble to destroy equipment provided for children to play on. It is absolutely shocking that this has happened."

Police have questioned a 19-year-old man from Royston in connection with the arson attack.

He was released on bail to return to a police station on January 29.

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