‘Low life’ vandals start fire at pond

Angry resident next to the pond, with kids who helped put out the fire Danny 9, Leila 11, and George 11, Norton.

Angry resident next to the pond, with kids who helped put out the fire Danny 9, Leila 11, and George 11, Norton.

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RESIDENTS and young people have been devastated by an arson attack which destroyed one of the key parts of a newly-created conservation area.

The people who carried out the attack have been labelled “low life.” And it is one of a growing number of vandalism incidents around Donington which are upsetting and angering residents.

A litter bin in the form of a model Penguin went up in flames on Tuesday night, the second time it suffered an attempted arson and a theft.

It had become a much-loved feature of a makeover around the pond in Mill Lane, carried out by Donington Conservation Group, an offshoot of the In Bloom campaign

It had cost more than £5,500 for the scheme, completed in May. Worn-out fencing and seating had been replaced to make it safer for the community to enjoy.

Conservation Group committee member Liz Walker told the Guardian: “We are quite appalled. Whoever did this must be very, very low life.

“We don’t know who they are, but someone living near the pond must know. They should report them to the police.

“It is soul destroying to see all the hard work wrecked.”

Mrs Walker, who lives a five-minute walk away in Orchard Close, said she had been called at about 10.20pm on Tuesday to say that the penguin had been burned to the ground.

Conservation Group chairman Jane Stanley said: “We are only a small group and we keep getting knocked back. If these people channelled their energy into helping instead of destroying things everything would be better.

“It is sad because we have worked so hard.”

Her frustration was echoed by Gill Lunn, from village action group IDEA, who said in recent months in Flinders Park a children’s ride had been broken, a picnic table flung into a dyke and there had been other damage as well as relentless littering.

Work to improve the village was carried out by volunteers who had to seek grants and donations.

But she warned: “Unless something is done, there is no point putting things back if they are going to be damaged again.”

She believes the vandalism has ben carried out be teenagers and appealed for anyone who knew their identities to tell the police.

The model penguin at Mill Lane pond had helped to encourage youngsters to keep the area tidy and take pride in its appearance.

A toddlers group is a regular visitor to hear messages recorded on a voice box inside the penguin. The penguin would say such things: “Yum, Yum, Yum and “Thank you for feeding me.”

Four weeks ago another arson attack was put out and before that yobs stole the voice box from the penguin, which had to be replaced at a cost of £38.

Among groups helping to provide funds for the Mill Lane pond area were the Bicker Wind Farm, the community pot and Donington Parish Council. The penguin litter bin had cost £438.