Vandals target park days after opening

PARENTS are furious a new children s play area has been vandalised less than two weeks after it opened. Sally Brown, spokesman for the residents association, said: I was extremely upset when I saw the damage that had been done. In the first week the a

PARENTS are furious a new children's play area has been vandalised less than two weeks after it opened.

Sally Brown, spokesman for the residents' association, said: "I was extremely upset when I saw the damage that had been done.

"In the first week the area was opened it was very popular. It attracted so many people and there were a lot of happy parents and children."

Residents had worked with developers Enodis to clear the land of rubbish and overgrown plants to in order to provide a safe place for children to play in Oakwood Park, Little Dunmow.

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The area was landscaped and then equipped with play equipment including a twin swing, a toddler swing, two wobble dishes, bars and weighing scales costing in the region of £80,000.

However, by the end of the first week of it being open the weighing scales, worth £4000 had been broken. It was repaired last Friday but had been broken again within a couple of days.

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Mrs Brown said: "Since then I have been talking with the people at Enodis to have this piece of equipment taken away and replaced with something that is more suitable for children who are under eight-years-old to play on and, hopefully, less likely to be vandalised again.

The mother-of-two added: "There has been a small number of teenagers hanging around the area during the evenings and playing on the equipment.

"I think this is when the damage is being done."

She commented that she was very disappointed to see the area and equipment being abused in such a way.

"Families in Oakwood Park have been waiting for such a long time to have a place where they can go and play and now we've got it, it's being treated in such an appalling way," she said.

The residents association has also asked Enodis to supply signs saying 'No Ball Games' because, Mrs Brown said the area was being used by older youths to play football on and there have been several reports of balls being kicked into the road and hitting cars as they drive past.

"This is obviously dangerous for motorists and also for the children as they have to go into the road to get their ball back.

"I'm concerned that someone might get hurt before long.

"It only takes someone to be going a bit too fast, or someone not looking properly before they cross the road and no one wants something like that to happen."

Sgt Gary Robinson, of Dunmow Police Station, said: "It is very sad that older youths are spoiling this equipment designed for the younger children to enjoy.

"This type of damage is a criminal offence and we will always look into operations to deal with such nuisance behaviour and pursue those people who cause criminal damage."

What do you think? E-mail your thoughts on the vandalism at the play area to us at

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