Kids reduced to tears after new play area in Central Park, Harold Hill, destroyed by arsonists

10:33 17 March 2014

The newly revamped children's play area was badly arson-damaged. Picture: Marc Ayres

The newly revamped children's play area was badly arson-damaged. Picture: Marc Ayres


Children have been reduced to tears and residents left “shocked and upset” after arsonists caused severe fire damage to a new play area in Harold Hill.

Children have been left in tears by the damage. Picture: Marc AyresChildren have been left in tears by the damage. Picture: Marc Ayres

The vandals struck at Central Park on Friday night, setting ablaze the climbing frame and slide, and causing scorch damage to the specialist soft ground.

The revamped play area had only opened two weeks ago and had been well-received by youngsters, parents said.

It formed part of Havering’s Council’s £1.5m investment into the park and followed consultation with 1,500 residents.

Resident Marc Ayres, whose daughter used the site, said: “For this to happen has shocked and upset many people round here. This play area is fantastic for the kids and my daughter loved it. Such a shame.”

The play area has only been open for a couple of weeks. Picture: Marc AyresThe play area has only been open for a couple of weeks. Picture: Marc Ayres

Mum Dawn Simson said: “The new park they built was wonderful, I took my son there and he loved it. Parents are disgusted [by the arson] and something needs to be done.”

Others have been voicing their anger on Twitter.

Emma Tate wrote: “Absolutely gutted, Central Park [play area] has been burnt down. Kids loved it. Any chance they would rebuild it?”

Andrew Jeffrey added: “Kids crying regarding the fire in the park’s new play site, poor kids, the police need to find [the perpertrators].”

Check back here for updates.

Let the Recorder know how you feel about the arson. Email or call 020 8477 3878.

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