Belfast Telegraph

Warrenpoint kids' play park 'gem' damaged in arson attack

Damage caused to the play park. Pic Mark Gibbons.
Damage caused to the play park. Pic Mark Gibbons.
Damage caused to the play park. Pic Mark Gibbons.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

A children's play park, described as a "gem" of the community has been seriously damaged in a fire.

Vandals attacked the play park in the Seaview area of Warrenpoint sometime before midnight on Sunday.

Equipment, including a swing set and a tunnel, was left badly scorched.

Independent councillor for the area, Mark Gibbons, praised the work of the Fire Service in attending the scene so quickly and getting the fire out.

He said the park is close to a nearby hotel.

"Had the fire been allowed to spread we could have been looking at much worse," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

The Crotlieve councillor said hundreds had been spent on the play park recently with the help of National Lottery heritage funding. He said it was very popular with locals and a valuable community resource.

"It's the envy of the town, a real gem," he said.

"I am disgusted in the behaviour of a few, who have tried to destroy our wonderful park.

"These actions are disgraceful and also heartbreaking for the families and especially young children who use this beautiful park day in, day out.

Councillor Mark Gibbons.
Councillor Mark Gibbons.

"The level of anti-social behaviour has certainly risen over the Christmas holidays and now this appalling action has taken it to a new low."

Mr Gibbons said he hoped the damage to the park could be fixed and it reopened to the public as soon as possible.

"I will be working hard with our council, PSNI and relevant agencies to make sure this gem of a playground is back up and running as soon as possible-for all of our community.

"An awful lot of money has been spent on it and an awful lot of damage has been done."

Police are treating the incident as an arson and are appealing for information.

Sergeant Paul Connolly said: "We received a report that between 11.45pm and midnight there was a fire in a play park.

“As a result, significant damage was caused to the play park.

“Enquiries are continuing and we were appealing for information or any witnesses in relation to this incident to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 1 30/12/19. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymously and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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