‘STUPID, mindless’ vandals have left taxpayers with a £1,000 repair bill after they damaged children’s play equipment at East Union Street Recreation Ground.
They used bolt cutters to sever the chains of a swing, and a flammable substance to burn rope on a climbing net.
Replacement parts have been ordered, although a council spokesman said it could take some time for them to arrive and be installed.
Coun Neil Sandison, who represents Eastlands Ward on Rugby Borough Council, said the playground was the only one within walking distance for many residents since the Co-op fenced off its Oakfield Recreation Ground in 2016 after its housing plan was rejected.
He said: “This act of thoughtless and malicious vandalism beggars belief. Vandalism isn’t a victimless crime – it ruins the enjoyment of our excellent open spaces.
“This is relatively new play equipment since the play area was recently substantially refurbished.
“Many of the children who attend St Marie’s Primary School or live on Firs Drive or Overslade use the equipment – in fact its use has gone up since Oakfield was boarded up.
“This is clearly a case of criminal damage and I hope the council will prosecute it as such.”
Residents registered their disapproval on social media, with one saying: “Disgusting. My grandchildren love this park.”
Another said: “Don’t understand the mentality of someone who’d do this to a children’s park, how could you even bring yourself to do it?
“That area may be some children’s only safe haven and now destruction has been brought there too. So sad.”
PC Charlie Young, who posted a social media appeal to find the culprits, said it was an act of “stupid, mindless vandalism”.
“It is unusual,” he added. “Whoever has done this has brought the equipment with them to cause that damage. It is a deliberate act.
“I would suggest it has been perpetrated by somebody who doesn’t use, or is too old to use, that kind of equipment.
“The only people who are going to suffer are the local residents.”
The damage was caused between September 5 and 12. Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting crime number 23/38162/18, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously via www.crimestoppers-uk.org or on 0800 555 111.