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Vandals rip up track and close down park

Chris Johnson, Nick Strange and James Porter with the damaged flooring at the play area in George Street Park, Bicester. Pictures: OX52824 Antony Moore

Chris Johnson, Nick Strange and James Porter with the damaged flooring at the play area in George Street Park, Bicester. Pictures: OX52824 Antony Moore

First published in News by

A CHILDREN’S play park in Bicester remains closed after vandals caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Yobs are believed to have struck at the park in George Street overnight or in the early hours and torn up the safety flooring.

The damage was discovered during a routine inspection at the park by council staff and deemed so severe the park was shut.

The damage is believed to have happened on June 24, but nearly two weeks later the park has yet to reopen. Conservative leader of Bicester Town Council James Porter said: “We believe it was just a small minority who did this.

“They have torn up the safety surface under the aerial track which means the whole aerial track is not usable and the playground will have to be closed for up to two weeks.

“It’s very disappointing for the children and families who use it.

“We believe it will cost between £2,500 and £4,000 to repair. It could be a very expensive job.

“That money could have been spent on other play equipment or improvements around the town. Other places would dearly love an aerial trackway.”

The council estimate it spends in the region of £20,000 a year looking after play areas.

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Inspections take place every week and more and more of the repairs needed in play areas are related to vandalism incidents.

Among the incidents town council staff deal with is graffiti, clearing up wetpour — where flour is poured on equipment – broken seats and equipment ripped up from the floor.

There are also problems with bins, flooring and seats being set alight, and litter and glass being scattered in the play area.

Police say antisocial behaviour is one of their top priorities and urged people to report incidents to the policeor approach PCSOs.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said problems could not be resolved without the help of local people.

She said: “Antisocial behaviour cannot be resolved without your help and involvement. It is vital that you record and monitor the antisocial behaviour. It is the best way to gather evidence to support any police action.

“Keep a log of all acts of anti-social behaviour. Make a note of times, dates, and details of the activity. Do not put yourself at risk. Keep your personal safety in mind.”

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