A Belfast councillor has expressed disappointment after a play park in the Markets area of the city was badly damaged after being set on fire.
Local resident group the Market Development Association took to social media on Wednesday to share images of the damage done to the amenity situated at Stewart Street.
The images posted show fire damage done to the ground surrounding the playground equipment, with the climbing ropes also destroyed.
They said the incident happened in the early hours of the morning and the park is now closed until repairs are made.
The fire service confirmed the incident is being treated as a “deliberate ignition”.
"Last night equipment in Stewart Street Playground was set on fire and damaged. The Stewart Street playground is currently closed until emergency repairs can be made,” they Market Development Association wrote.
“This behaviour is totally unacceptable and now means the children of the community are unable to access the playground.”
The SDLP’s Gary McKeown said he has spoken with Belfast City Council in a bid to get the park repaired and reopened but admitted this “could take some time”.
"Disappointed at the arson attack on the playground on Stewart Street in the Market which involved a pallet being placed against climbing equipment and set alight,” he said.
“This is an essential community asset, particularly for kids at this time of year.
“I've spoken to the council about getting repairs done to try to get the playground reopened and workers have been on-site clearing the damage and making the play unit safe, but it could take some time to get replacement equipment.”
In a statement, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said one fire appliance attended the incident in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"Firefighters were called to a climbing frame in a playpark on fire,” a spokesperson said.
"They used 1 jet to extinguish the fire. The incident was dealt with by 0.17am and the cause of the fire is believed to be deliberate ignition.”