September 3 2014 Latest news:
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Jane Ball, News editor
Monday, March 17, 2014
Names and addresses of “a number of young people” thought to be involved in starting a fire which destroyed much of a new children’s play area have been handed to police by Havering Council following tip-offs from the public.
Arsonists caused an estimated £40,000-worth of damage to the recently-installed equipment in Central Park, Harold Hill, after deliberately setting alight to the safety surface on Friday night.
Havering Council’s cabinet member for towns, communities and culture, Cllr Andrew Curtin, said: “It is sad that such vandalism has happened just two weeks after the new play area was completed. I hope that those that decided to cause this awful incident will be quickly caught and punished.
“The public response to the damage has been supportive of the council and has helped identify those believed to be responsible.
“We hope to be able to replace the equipment quickly, but need to wait for the damage assessment. The fire has also highlighted the need for us to gate the park at night and we are working hard to make this happen.”
The council has said it has “taken steps” to secure the area.
The manufacturers will visit this week to assess the damage and cost of repair.
Installation of gates at Central Park is planned as part of the consultation plan for refurbishment work in the park.