"Urgent appeal" for public to assist authorities in tackling vandalism in Darlington parks

Darlington Council has made an urgent appeal for help from residents to help combat vandalism in the borough’s parks and play areas.

Between April and May this year, the council says 73 incidents of vandalism were recorded across the borough and, in some cases, play equipment was damaged beyond repair and had to be removed. The approximate cost to make play areas safe for children was totaled than £12,000.

 The figure represents an alarming increase compared to the same period in previous years. Council data shows:

Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for local services said: “The summer holiday period is when we usually see a peak in incidents such as this, so the increase we’ve seen in recent weeks is a real concern."

The council has also urged local residents and parents to help as "we can't do it alone".

"Be extra vigilant when you are out and about and report anything suspicious to Police, and parents can help by encouraging teenagers to think twice before getting involved in such antisocial behaviour, which will not be tolerated."

Keith Wanley, Area Manager for Community Safety at Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“With the summer holidays only just around the corner, we would encourage parents to speak to their children about the risks of deliberate fire setting and the aftermath vandalism can have on the community.

How you can report incidents:

Anyone who has any information about deliberate fires in the area should contact Firestoppers anonymously on 0800 169 5558 or use firestoppersreport.co.uk.”

If you spot anything suspicious contact Police on 101 or the council’s civic enforcement team on 406999.

To report damaged play equipment email customerservices@darlington.gov.uk or call 405000.