Appalled residents have spoken out following a spate of violent crime in a Barnsley village.
Police are trying to tackle anti-social behaviour in Lundwood, which saw over 30 arson attacks reported last year. A police officer also suffered multiple injuries after he was set upon by a group while patrolling the area last month.
Reverend Blair Radford, a parish priest at St Mary Magdalen church believes anti-social behaviour in the area is part of a wider issue. He said: “The village has seen an increase in ASB since the beginning of the year.
“This sits in a context of similar circumstances in surrounding areas where young people are now unchallenged when behaving in this way. The recent hospitalisation of a police officer last week showed the level we have reached. We need to respond to the core reasons why this is happening.”
His reaction comes as a children’s playground was destroyed by vandals in a recent attack. Littleworth Lane’s playground will now be removed, Barnsley Council has announced. The council said it will cost £20,000 to replace the play area as it is “beyond repair”, leaving them with no choice but to remove it.
Wendy Lowder, Executive Director for Communities, said: “It’s very disappointing to hear that the playground at Littleworth Lane was subject to yet more vandalism on Tuesday 3 May. Sadly, this is not the first time vandalism has seen the play area needing removals and repairs in the last two years, with numerous incidents of small fires and other damage.
“We don’t tolerate this sort of behaviour in our borough, and we’re joining forces with partners at South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to identify the offender. In the meantime, we will have to remove the play equipment for safety reasons as the damage is beyond repair, costing £20,000 to replace.”
Several residents took to social media to share their dismay at the news. Mother, Sherry Fleetwood, said: “I take my two-year-old to this park because it is easy for him to get up the steps to both slides. It is usually covered in glass and once there was food thrown everywhere, but this is ridiculous.
“My son will be gutted. Every time we drive past he says ‘slide’. It shouldn’t come out of the community’s budget to replace the damage caused by vandalism because it will only be ruined again”. Another Facebook user, Denise Sedgewick, said: “Appalling behaviour. They should be made to pay for the damage they have caused.”