Help needed to stop park vandals

A picnic bench damaged by vandals in Lilford Park
A picnic bench damaged by vandals in Lilford Park
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Residents have condemned yobs responsible for several incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism in a popular Leigh park.

The Friends of Lilford Park group is leading the calls for action after a picnic bench was trashed, a waste bin was burnt and several fires lit in the green space’s woodland areas.

“The vast majority of people are enjoying the work we’re doing, it’s just these few idiots who ultimately need teaching a lesson and stopping.”

David Sykes

In the latest incident a wooden bench and table in a new paved area which will eventually be part of a mental health trail was tipped on its side and jumped on until the legs broke.

This followed a bin being torched in the children’s play area and fire crews being called out to small blazes being lit in Lilford Park over a period of several weeks.

Park users have condemned the vandalism on social media and the friends’ group now wants action taken so firefighters are not tied up visiting the park and the venue’s reputation is not tarnished by a minority.

David Sykes, chair of the friends’ group, said: “The damage to the bench is fairly trivial; it’s repairable and someone has already volunteered to fix it for us.

“The bigger problem is people have been having bonfires in the woods. Aerosol cans have been thrown on them to make explosions and that’s dangerous, and there’s also a risk that if there’s a genuine emergency somewhere the fire engine will be occupied.

“We’ve also had an incident where someone set a wheelie bin on fire in front of the swings and then the day after that the bench was wrecked. Someone tilted it on its side and then jumped all over it.

“People are disgusted by the anti-social behaviour but we don’t want to discourage people from using the park because there’s investment coming in.

“The vast majority of people are enjoying the work we’re doing, it’s just these few idiots who ultimately need teaching a lesson and stopping.”

Despite the recent incidents the friends’ group says it is ploughing on with its work to improve the park, with funding from the Round Table recently used to create football pitches.

The new facilities are already being used by a local football team for its practices and the friends’ group is now planning to install a new backboard and net on the basketball hoop.

Action has also been taken to prevent off-road motorcyclists accessing the park.

Any incidents of vandalism or anti-social behaviour can be reported to Wigan Council by ringing 01942 404364.