‘We won’t let yobs who trashed our parks win’

Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: Vandals have tore up the soft tarmac children's play area at The Green, Airedale.'Pictured: PCSO Ash Sutton, Mick Hutchinson - Neighbourhood management team member, Richard Sloan - Vice chair, Mike Dixon - Chair, Debbie Borthwick (with Lucy) - team member.'Photo date: 12/08/15'Picture Ref: AB175a0815
Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: Vandals have tore up the soft tarmac children's play area at The Green, Airedale.'Pictured: PCSO Ash Sutton, Mick Hutchinson - Neighbourhood management team member, Richard Sloan - Vice chair, Mike Dixon - Chair, Debbie Borthwick (with Lucy) - team member.'Photo date: 12/08/15'Picture Ref: AB175a0815
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Hundreds of children in Castleford have been left with nowhere to play after vandals trashed two parks in the town.

Yobs have torn up specialist protective surfaces at playgrounds at Green Park, Ferry Fryston and at Lock Lane Play Area during the past two weeks.

Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: Vandals have tore up the soft tarmac children's play area at The Green, Airedale.'Pictured: PCSO Ash Sutton, Mick Hutchinson - Neighbourhood management team member, Richard Sloan - Vice chair, Mike Dixon - Chair, Debbie Borthwick (with Lucy) - team member.'Photo date: 12/08/15'Picture Ref: AB175b0815

Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: Vandals have tore up the soft tarmac children's play area at The Green, Airedale.'Pictured: PCSO Ash Sutton, Mick Hutchinson - Neighbourhood management team member, Richard Sloan - Vice chair, Mike Dixon - Chair, Debbie Borthwick (with Lucy) - team member.'Photo date: 12/08/15'Picture Ref: AB175b0815

Councillors and community leaders now fear the equipment may never be replaced.

Airedale councillor Les Shaw said: “They have done a massive amount of damage at Green Park. They must have really gone to town on it.

“But this is like the final straw because it has been going on for a while.

“It’s just sheer mindless vandalism and it’s absolutely disgusting.”

As well as tearing up the specialist flooring, vandals have also damaged play equipment at both sites.

Coun Shaw said: “It is the time of year when these facilities are used the most but now thanks to the sheer mindlessness of just a few, hundreds of children don’t have anywhere to play.

“In Airedale, there are a lot of families who won’t be able to afford to take their children on days out so these facilities are vital to our area.

“It’s a massive problem for us as a council as well because money is getting more and more scarce and if people don’t start looking after our facilities we will lose them. It’s as simple as that.”

The protective surface is yet to be replaced at both sites.

Castleford councillor Denise Jeffery said: “It seems like there’s a bit of a spate of these crimes going on at the moment.

“I just don’t get what people get out of it. It’s really frustrating.”

The vandals struck at Green Park just before the Airedale, Ferry Fryston, Fryston and Townville Neighbourhood Management Board (NMB)held a family fun day.

Around 1,000 people went to the event on Wednesday, August 5.

Mike Dixon, NMB chairman, said: “We reported the damage to Wakefield Council and its staff were brilliant in making sure the park was safe for the fun day.

“We owe a great deal of gratitude to them for making sure the event could happen.

“As for the vandals, all I would like to say to them is hard luck - it takes more than that to beat us.

“If they trash our park, we will always win.

“We will always find a way to fight back and provide the much-needed facilities for the people who live in our area.”

Anyone with any information about the damage at either of the sites should contact Castleford neighbourhood police team on 101.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.