A DELIBERATE fire next to a memorial bench for a South Kirkby miner has left a local resident disgusted.
The blaze, lit to burn a bag of rubbish, including sanitary towels and pieces of plastic, left the six-foot piece of land in Frickley Country Park scorched.
The memorial bench, just metres away, was placed in the park to remember 24-year-old miner David Gareth Jones, who worked at Kellingley Colliery but was killed after being hit by a brick on March 15, 1984, while on a picket line in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, during the Miners’ Strike.
John Spence, 44, of Rowley Croft, was shocked to discover the debris while walking a friend’s dog on Sunday.
He said: “That bench was put there by someone who loved that lad, and it is totally disrespectful. I am utterly disgusted and the person or people who did it should be ashamed.”
He said he used the park regularly and it was not there last Wednesday so it had been done between those times.
Mr Spence said: “I just could not believe my eyes when I saw it. I was absolutely appalled. It was done so close to the memorial bench I am surprised that has not been badly damaged.
“There are people who use the park for drinking and leave cans which is bad enough, but this is terrible. So much money has been spent to make this park beautiful and it really is, but it’s upsetting that people treat their own village this way.”
Richard Hall, station manager at South Elmsall fire station, said: “Unfortunately a small minority of people seem intent on starting nuisance fires.
“They don’t recognise the impact these fires can have on the community and the consequences of their actions. Attending these fires is not only a drain on resources but they have the potential to spread and cause serious property damage, injury and in severe cases, death.
“We are working with the community and a number of other partners including the police, local schools and the council to reduce the number of incidents through education, enforcement and environmental initiatives.”
He said he needed help from the community to report those responsible for such incidents.
Anyone with information should contact the arson task force 01924 334060, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.