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Arsonists wreck state-of-art Crossgar play park a year after £130,000 revamp

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 13/07/2015

Youngsters yesterday survey the damage to the play park at Crossgar, which has infuriated local MP Margaret Ritichie
Youngsters yesterday survey the damage to the play park at Crossgar, which has infuriated local MP Margaret Ritichie
MP Margaret Ritichie

Damage costing tens of thousands of pounds has been caused to a play park in Co Down.

Police said they believed a tyre was set alight, destroying play equipment and seating in the facility at Downpatrick Street in Crossgar.

The park was refurbished less than a year ago at a cost of £130,000.

Independent councillor Terry Andrews said he was "disgusted" by the vandalism, which occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He said: "It is just senseless, barbaric, wanton destruction. We have had parents turn up here with their children this morning and the children have had tears in their eyes when they saw what had happened.

"This park is less than a year old. It had state-of-the-art equipment, but the play tower has been burnt to a crisp, the soft matting has been damaged and summer seats have been destroyed.

"The whole place is in a sorry state and will have to be closed off for the foreseeable future."

PSNI Constable Raymond Dobbin has urged anyone with information to come forward.

He said: "I appeal to anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously around the area of the play park and in particular, anyone who saw anyone in possession of a car tyre to contact police at Downpatrick on the non-emergency number 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111".

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie also visited the scene.

She said: "I am disgusted by this arson attack and condemn those who carried it out. They should face the due process of the law.

"I would ask anyone if they saw anything at 1.30am this morning to tell police.

"I would also like the council, who are here and are working to make the area safe and secure, to prioritise resources for the replenishment and refurbishment of the park."

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