Residents want play area taken down after yobs torch swings

The playground
The playground
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FED-UP South Yorkshire residents are calling for a children’s playground to be pulled down after it was torched by yobs.

Since the playground was installed around 18 months ago in Barkers Park, Kimberworth, Rotherham, residents say their lives have been made a misery by rowdy youths who drink, swear, smash bottles and vandalise the equipment.

On Monday night residents say a tyre swing was set alight and safety matting and a play frame with a slide were torched.

A resident from Redscope Crescent, which overlooks the playground, said: “Since Rotherham Council and Friends of Barkers Park took the decision to site the playground near our houses it has been an absolute nightmare for local residents.

“We have had to put up with wheelie bins being set alight, vandalism and rowdy behaviour at all times of night.

“The youths drink and smash bottles all over the place so parents with young children don’t dare take them to play there any more because of all the glass. Perhaps the council will take notice of our concerns now and take the playground down - it is going to cost thousands to repair or replace.”

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “We have inspected the site and two items of equipment will have to be removed because they are extensively damaged and others will need to be repaired.

“We will have to make a decision as to whether to replace the damaged items or not. We are looking at all options and will talk to local residents.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the blaze is being linked to a number of wheelie bins fires started in Kimberworth around the same time.

She said problems in the park were a policing priority for the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Acting Inspector Dave Baines said: “South Yorkshire Police has received ten reports of nuisance or rowdy behaviour over the past six months relating to the Barkers Park area, seven of which have been made within the past two weeks about the children’s play area within the park.

“The Safer Neighbourhood Team has increased patrols during the day and at night to tackle this issue and provide extra reassurance.

Chief Insp Caroline Rollitt said: “I would encourage residents to ensure they do not leave their bins out for longer then necessary, bringing them in as soon as they can once they have been emptied. It is important parents are aware of where their children are.”

Anyone with information should call PC Andy Poppleton or PCSO James Thorpe on 01709 832073.