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Fury at vandals damage Whaplode Playing Field

Volunteers have been left frustrated after vandals caused damage at Whaplode Playing Field.

A basketball hoop was bent in half last Tuesday, while a basket swing’s support beam was snapped in half three weeks earlier.

The park, which stands at the junction of Cobgate and Churchgate, suffered from a similar incident in 2019 when the metal head of a rocking horse was stolen.

Bob Merchant is unhappy with vandalism at Whaplode Playing Field. (47851031)
Bob Merchant is unhappy with vandalism at Whaplode Playing Field. (47851031)

Whaplode parish councillor Bob Merchant, who is also a member of the Whaplode Playing Field Association, was disappointed by the vandalism.

“We’ve never really had this kind of problem,” he said. “I’ve been on the committee for around 50 years now, and it’s barely happened.”

“I’m not sure if it was them, but there is a group of five or ten kids on bikes who come here a lot. They leave beer cans lying around the place, even though there’s a sign saying ‘no alcohol’.”

Mr Merchant said that
because there are limited funds available to pay for
repairs, he isn’t sure if repair jobs are worth it.

“I mean, why do we bother? Do we even replace it? If it’s just going to get vandalised again, then what’s the point?

“We are already short enough on money as it is.

“Some people have suggested putting in CCTV cameras, but that’s not viable. We don’t even have power here, for a start.

“The chances are that any cameras would just get vandalised as well.”

Margaret Lewis, secretary of Whaplode Playing Field Committee, said the damage to the basketball hoop is irreparable and will cost around £1,500 to replace.

“We are a voluntary group with very limited funds and this group (of boys) is spoiling the pleasure that our playing field brings for so many people,” she said.

“We are concerned that this is becoming a real problem in our community and that this will not be the end of it.

“If we do discover who did this we will proceed to recover the costs of replacement from them.”

A Lincolnshire Police spokesperson said: "Police are aware of recent reports of damage and anti-social behaviour in and around the park on Church Gate, Whaplode."

"We are increasing patrols in the area, like we have in many parks and open spaces following the relaxing of Covid restrictions, and we would appeal for anybody with information to call 101 quoting 21000304408 or email HolbeachTown&Rural@lincs.pnn.police.uk if they have any information about these incidents."

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