Arsonists torched a climbing frame and a children’s train in East Brighton Park this week – just days after residents learnt they were missing out on the latest round of playground funding.
The equipment in the playground off Wilson Avenue was set on first twice in the same night – once shortly after midnight on Tuesday, 5 June, and then again at 5.17am.
In both cases, firefighters from Roedean were called to the scene and put out the flames with a hose reel jet.
Brighton and Hove City Council will replace the equipment – but it will take three months for it to be ordered and delivered, leaving children without a climbing frame and train all summer.
Amber Ayling, who took these pictures, regularly uses the playground with her five-year-old daughter. She said: “There’s not really a lot of stuff in that playground for a five-year-old to play on. There’s a rope she’s too small to get up, swings she’s not old enough for and baby swings she’s too big for. The climbing frame is the only thing for that age.
“It’s sad that this happened. I’m glad the council is replacing it, but it’s still a long time.”
A council spokesman said: “It’s very sad to see these acts of reckless vandalism in our parks which ruin the facilities for our children and cost the council, and therefore tax payers, money.
“We’ll be looking to remove the vandalised equipment within the next two weeks after we carry out an investigation. We will then replace the items once they are ordered and delivered, which will take around three months.
“We have spent more than £150,000 on playground equipment in East Brighton over the last seven years and we will continue to work on improvements to facilities, for example working with the Crew Club to upgrade the sports pitches beside the club to allow year round use.”
A police spokesman said: “At 2.18pm on Tuesday (5 June) police were told that during the early hours of the same day children’s play equipment in the East Brighton Park playground, Wilson Avenue, Brighton, appeared to have been deliberately set on fire and damaged.
“A train, climbing frame and nearby surfaces were affected by heat and flames. Firefighters had attended.
“Anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 804 of 05/06. Alternatively, please contact Crimestoppers or phone the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555111.”
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