Country Parks targeted by vandals

15/08/2017, PR8628

Country parks at Anglers and Newmillerdam have both recently suffered from acts of vandalism and the Council is calling on the public for any information.

One of the bird hides at Anglers was burnt down last week, leaving only the stone block footings of the structure.

Fire damaged bird hide at Anglers Country Park
Fire damaged bird hide at Anglers Country Park

Last month, a picnic bench at Newmillerdam was completely destroyed in a deliberate fire and part of the Lawns Park boardwalk was also damaged. The Friends of Newmillerdam Country Park repaired the boardwalk and a new picnic bench is being ordered, but the cost of the materials is over £1,000.

The incidents have been reported to the Police and the Council is urging anyone with any information to come forward.

Cllr Maureen Cummings
Cllr Maureen Cummings

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities, said: “We are absolutely disgusted by the anti-social behaviour that has been taking place in our parks. These deliberate and deplorable acts of vandalism have caused lasting damage to our fabulous open spaces, destroying local wildlife and spoiling the parks for visitors.

“Our parks are fantastic places to visit and it is shocking that anyone would cause such damage. I urge anyone with any information to contact to Police by calling 101.”

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been called out to three fires at Newmillerdam Country Park already this year.

Mussarat Suleman, Wakefield District Prevention Manager at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This year alone we have attended numerous incidents at the park as a result of anti-social behaviour. We have seen damage caused to decking, trees and woodland and a fishing platform. It is concerning to see the damage that is being caused to both nature and the wildlife in the area.

“Parks should be safe and pleasant places for visitors to use. I would urge all visitors to remain vigilant at all times, adhere to the instructions provided and report any suspicious activity to the Police immediately.”

A much larger fire was deliberately started at Newmillerdam last year, completely destroying the boardwalk and viewing platform. The ferocity of the fire meant that nine trees had to be cut down due to them being damaged. The Friends of Newmillerdam rebuilt the boardwalk and viewing platform at a cost of £6,000.

Earlier this year, a fishing platform funded and installed by Wakefield Angling Club was also destroyed by fire.

If residents witness the signs of a fire in any of the Council’s country parks please report this by calling 0345 8 506 506.

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