VIDEO: Community in shock after suspected arson at play area
A play park in Cramlington is partially closed after vandals caused significant damage to the grounds and equipment in the early hours of this morning.
The facility in Seven Oaks park had re-opened last month after Cramlington Town Council sourced Â£100,000 of funding to revamp the area.
It is believed that unidentified vandals have entered the play area in the early hours of this morning at around 3.15am and started a fire, causing significant damage to the grounds and equipment. The offenders have then fled the scene.
Police officers are treating the fire as suspected arson and have asked the public to come forward with any information.
The play park was closed following the incident, although the council stated this afternoon that it is now partially open.
John Collins, chairman of Cramlington Town Council, said: "This playground was only opened on June 16 following a refurbishment that cost more than Â£100,000.
“I am appalled that a small group of hooligans can cause so much damage. The play park was very well received by local residents and is in constant use.
“We have CCTV coverage of the incident, which will be passed to the police. I’m confident that those responsible will be identified and brought to account for their actions.
"We will make every effort to ensure the play park is fully re-open as soon as possible."
The CCTV footage in our video shows what appears to be a group of youths setting a piece of equipment in the park alight.
Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Hall said: "We're asking for help from the community to find those responsible for causing this senseless damage.
“The council was forced to close the park and the impact this will have on residents in the area can’t be underestimated.
“Anyone who was in the area at the time or has any information which could assist our investigation is urged to come forward."
A Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: "We were called at 3.38am this morning to equipment on fire at a play area in Cramlington.
"One pump attended from West Hartford fire station and extinguished the fire, leaving the site at 3.55am.
"It is suspected that the fire was ignited deliberately."
Police inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should call Northumbria Police on 101 - quoting crime reference number 098848M/18 - or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.