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Anger as vandals set Wokingham park ablaze

CHARRED: A slide melted under the blaze caused by vandals in the Latimer Road park. Picture: Peter Hornsby

FORGET the Easter bunny, it’s grinches that have visited Wokingham.

In the early evening of Easter Sunday, vandals struck in a playground, destroying activities that children would normally be enjoying.

Firecrews were called to tackle the blaze at the Latimer Road playground, off Barkham Road and quickly brought the fire under control.

The area was taped off to prevent children playing in the wreckage.

A rope bridge is charred and burnt, while a slide had scorch marks on it.

A slide has completely melted, leaving just charred plastic remains trailing to the ground.

BURNT: The torched remains of the play equipment damaged in Latimer Road Picture: Peter Hornsby

Wokingham Borough Council installed temporary fencing around the damaged equipment on Tuesday, allowing the rest of the play area to be reopened.

Its staff will be working with police in a bid to catch the vandals.

A spokesperson for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “At 7.23pm on Sunday, April 4, we received reports of a fire at Latimer Road Playground in Wokingham.

The spokesperson continued: “A Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service crew from Bracknell was sent to the scene.

“Upon arrival, firefighters found a fire in the playground, so extinguished it before making the scene safe.

“They were on the scene for about 20 minutes.”

And the damage has upset many Wokingham residents.

Some have pointed out that there has been a number of issues in the Latimer Road area in recent years, calling for street lights and cameras to prevent youngsters being put at risk from anti-social behaviour.

Another called for regular patrols in the parks.

Wokingham Town Council’s Cllr Peter Hornsby (Lib Dem, Emmbrook North) discovered the damage when he took his daughter to the park on Monday morning.

“It was taped off, and there were broken glass and gas cylinders around,” he said.

“This is a playground used by a lot of children.

“It’s a shame they (the vandals) felt the need to do this sort of thing.”

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