Call for the public to help tackle vandalism in Darlington's play parks

Call for the public to help tackle vandalism in Darlington's play parks

PARK ATTACK: Councillors Bob Carson, left, and Stephen Harker at the Play Dene in Darlington that is costing the council a lot in repairing attacks by vandals Picture: ANDY LAMB

PARK ATTACK: Councillors Bob Carson, left, and Stephen Harker at the Play Dene in Darlington that is costing the council a lot in repairing attacks by vandals Picture: ANDY LAMB

PARK ATTACK: Recent vandalism at the Play Dene in Darlington Picture: ANDY LAMB

PARK ATTACK: Vandalism at the Play Dene in Darlington Picture: ANDY LAMB

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Darlington reporter

THE man responsible for looking after Darlington’s play parks has called on the public to help him tackle the ‘frustrating’ problem of repeated vandalism.

Peter Stockdale, Darlington Borough Council’s play area manager, who maintains the town’s 33 play parks, is forced to spend thousands of pounds making repairs to equipment and safety matting, removing graffiti and picking up glass and litter each year.

His call for people to report damage to the council as soon as possible, and to identify those responsible, has been backed by councillors Bob Carson and Steve Harker, who have dealt with a number of incidents at their local Denes play area.

The Denes play park, installed several years ago to make up a gap in provision for local children, is popular with families and teenagers, but suffers serious problems with vandalism – more than a third of the annual repair budget for all play parks is spent there.

Mr Stockdale, who inspects every park in the town at least once a week, said his heart sank every time he walked into a park that had suffered vandalism.

He said: “Some parks don’t really suffer damage but there are some – The Denes, the park at Cocker Beck, and Eastbourne Park – that seem to be targeted repeatedly.

“We put some new swings up in Eastbourne park and they were cut down. I put them up reluctantly because I knew what would happen.

“I cover the parks by myself, so if there is damage it helps if people can report it so I can get out there as fast as possible.

“That happened this week at Bensham Park, when vandals had trashed the place. I was able to get out there much earlier than I would have and clean it up, which took three hours.

“It’s so frustrating because it’s kids damaging their own stuff.”

Councillor Harker said: “This is a popular park so it’s frustrating that a tiny minority choose to spoil it for others. We want to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to report it when they see something happening.

Cllr Carson added: “The word vandalism covers quite a wide area but some of what happens here is just criminal damage.”

Damage to play parks can be reported to the council on 01325-388777, via @darlingtonbc on Twitter or post on the council’s Facebook page.

Comments (13)

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6:05pm Fri 1 Aug 14

oliviaden6 says...

Pray WHAT will you do with them if you catch them, slapped wrists all round, I know send them to Bill Dixon to deal with he has some fantastic ideas on how to deal with these sort of people or so he is advocating?
Society will never get to the bottom of these morons who spoil our every day lives.
Pray WHAT will you do with them if you catch them, slapped wrists all round, I know send them to Bill Dixon to deal with he has some fantastic ideas on how to deal with these sort of people or so he is advocating? Society will never get to the bottom of these morons who spoil our every day lives. oliviaden6
  • Score: 16

7:48pm Fri 1 Aug 14

renot says...

Fighting a losing battle here I'm afraid. Sounds like a cliché but there is no discipline in a lot of our younger generation.

When I was a kid and I use to play knock a door and run, I ran because I was terrified of getting caught. Kids aren't scared these days. They'll knock on your door and just stand there laughing at you. If you're really unlucky you'll get a punch to the face.
Fighting a losing battle here I'm afraid. Sounds like a cliché but there is no discipline in a lot of our younger generation. When I was a kid and I use to play knock a door and run, I ran because I was terrified of getting caught. Kids aren't scared these days. They'll knock on your door and just stand there laughing at you. If you're really unlucky you'll get a punch to the face. renot
  • Score: 21

8:06pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Mackam says...

I regularly walk through the tennis court Denes. The amount of rubbish and empty bottles left around the tennis court and the children's play area is unbelievable. Unfortunately, there is no shame amongst the young people today. Buy it, drink it, drop it!!
I regularly walk through the tennis court Denes. The amount of rubbish and empty bottles left around the tennis court and the children's play area is unbelievable. Unfortunately, there is no shame amongst the young people today. Buy it, drink it, drop it!! Mackam
  • Score: 20

10:48pm Fri 1 Aug 14

stevegg says...

This is the result of 3 decades with no boundaries or consequences for actions thanks to the nations dogooders of which society is now reaping the consequences where those under 25 years have no fear of the law, no respect for others and can virtually do as they please with impunity. These youths do not care about any softly softly repercussions if caught as they are pampered and treated with kid gloves and laugh at the authorities weakness. Only harsh measures will curb this kind of behaviour but that is never going to happen so be prepared for more of the same and a continual spiral downwards.
This is the result of 3 decades with no boundaries or consequences for actions thanks to the nations dogooders of which society is now reaping the consequences where those under 25 years have no fear of the law, no respect for others and can virtually do as they please with impunity. These youths do not care about any softly softly repercussions if caught as they are pampered and treated with kid gloves and laugh at the authorities weakness. Only harsh measures will curb this kind of behaviour but that is never going to happen so be prepared for more of the same and a continual spiral downwards. stevegg
  • Score: 25

1:23am Sat 2 Aug 14

youngcrony says...

They should take a look at the small park behind Auckland Oval near the black path and West Auckland Road. The last time I saw this park, which was quite recently, it was littered with broken glass and rubbish.
They should take a look at the small park behind Auckland Oval near the black path and West Auckland Road. The last time I saw this park, which was quite recently, it was littered with broken glass and rubbish. youngcrony
  • Score: 9

7:22am Sat 2 Aug 14

JJ2000 says...

Those caught should have the cost removed from income, whether it's out of benefits or an attachment of earnings from themselves or their parents.
Those caught should have the cost removed from income, whether it's out of benefits or an attachment of earnings from themselves or their parents. JJ2000
  • Score: 16

8:39am Sat 2 Aug 14

harry2 says...

I remember in my youth play parks were vandalised then too, so stop beating up the kids of today nothing has changed.
I remember in my youth play parks were vandalised then too, so stop beating up the kids of today nothing has changed. harry2
  • Score: -10

10:26am Sat 2 Aug 14

oliviaden6 says...

harry2 wrote:
I remember in my youth play parks were vandalised then too, so stop beating up the kids of today nothing has changed.
To a point nothing has changed but i beg to differ in our youth one had respect for their elders and children were taught manners, added to that there were Police on the ground and one heeded them, our society is broken by too many individuals telling us not to chastise our children or smack them etc, It never hurt me and i was no angel But i grew up respecting my elders and brought my children up the same way.
RESPECT and Good behavour, a small thing to ask for a better society and better community.
[quote][p][bold]harry2[/bold] wrote: I remember in my youth play parks were vandalised then too, so stop beating up the kids of today nothing has changed.[/p][/quote]To a point nothing has changed but i beg to differ in our youth one had respect for their elders and children were taught manners, added to that there were Police on the ground and one heeded them, our society is broken by too many individuals telling us not to chastise our children or smack them etc, It never hurt me and i was no angel But i grew up respecting my elders and brought my children up the same way. RESPECT and Good behavour, a small thing to ask for a better society and better community. oliviaden6
  • Score: 7

3:56pm Sat 2 Aug 14

railwaygrafter says...

Hundreds of Thousands of 'Working' Taxpayers money spent on new facilities in North East Parks, many of which are vandalised by the same minority of maladjusted criminal spoilt brat louts. You cannot leave ANYTHING decent in Public in Britain, it is either smashed, burnt (arson) or criminally grafittied or unirated or defeacated on, what a shocking disgusting free benefit orientated 'nanny state country'....... and many parents could not care a monkies.
Hundreds of Thousands of 'Working' Taxpayers money spent on new facilities in North East Parks, many of which are vandalised by the same minority of maladjusted criminal spoilt brat louts. You cannot leave ANYTHING decent in Public in Britain, it is either smashed, burnt (arson) or criminally grafittied or unirated or defeacated on, what a shocking disgusting free benefit orientated 'nanny state country'....... and many parents could not care a monkies. railwaygrafter
  • Score: 3

8:25pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Mike2012 says...

I walk through the Denes daily, so this article is no surprise, It's a real shame, as they are in a worse condition I've ever seen them, regularly vandalised and the astroturf frequently tore up.

BUT.... Why on earth have a CCTV camera pointing directly at the problem area that isn't even turned on?!?! It was reported to the council the last time it was vandalised only to be told the camera wasn't operating??

Surely the amount it costs to replace everything, it would be a real cost-saver to have it operational?

Oh, and I agree with a poster above, PROSECUTE. If they aren't old enough to have it taken from their earnings/benefits, their parents will be! No excuses.
I walk through the Denes daily, so this article is no surprise, It's a real shame, as they are in a worse condition I've ever seen them, regularly vandalised and the astroturf frequently tore up. BUT.... Why on earth have a CCTV camera pointing directly at the problem area that isn't even turned on?!?! It was reported to the council the last time it was vandalised only to be told the camera wasn't operating?? Surely the amount it costs to replace everything, it would be a real cost-saver to have it operational? Oh, and I agree with a poster above, PROSECUTE. If they aren't old enough to have it taken from their earnings/benefits, their parents will be! No excuses. Mike2012
  • Score: 4

8:41pm Sat 2 Aug 14

D. Hop says...

Is this the start of their campaign which will result in the parks being closed down due to lack of funding available from the council? Too cynical?
Otherwise, I agree the vandalism stinks.
Is this the start of their campaign which will result in the parks being closed down due to lack of funding available from the council? Too cynical? Otherwise, I agree the vandalism stinks. D. Hop
  • Score: 3

11:06pm Sat 2 Aug 14

LUSTARD says...

Mike2012 wrote:
I walk through the Denes daily, so this article is no surprise, It's a real shame, as they are in a worse condition I've ever seen them, regularly vandalised and the astroturf frequently tore up.

BUT.... Why on earth have a CCTV camera pointing directly at the problem area that isn't even turned on?!?! It was reported to the council the last time it was vandalised only to be told the camera wasn't operating??

Surely the amount it costs to replace everything, it would be a real cost-saver to have it operational?

Oh, and I agree with a poster above, PROSECUTE. If they aren't old enough to have it taken from their earnings/benefits, their parents will be! No excuses.
they turned the camera the other way when that bairn was wacked it has to be run by psychopaths
[quote][p][bold]Mike2012[/bold] wrote: I walk through the Denes daily, so this article is no surprise, It's a real shame, as they are in a worse condition I've ever seen them, regularly vandalised and the astroturf frequently tore up. BUT.... Why on earth have a CCTV camera pointing directly at the problem area that isn't even turned on?!?! It was reported to the council the last time it was vandalised only to be told the camera wasn't operating?? Surely the amount it costs to replace everything, it would be a real cost-saver to have it operational? Oh, and I agree with a poster above, PROSECUTE. If they aren't old enough to have it taken from their earnings/benefits, their parents will be! No excuses.[/p][/quote]they turned the camera the other way when that bairn was wacked it has to be run by psychopaths LUSTARD
  • Score: -3

12:08pm Sun 3 Aug 14

tabby67 says...

Are you walking about with your eyes closed harry?
They have changed and its for the worse!
When we were kids we were scared of the police now you see little kids some younger than 10 shouting vile things at them and just seem to not give a hoot they have no respect. They have no respect for people older than themselves either no matter who they are. If I did anything wrong as a child I was more scared of what would happen from my parents when I got home!
Now I'm afraid there are to many late teens early 20 something kids having kids and letting them run riot till god knows what time its shocking I dread to think what it will be like in 20 years time! Things need to change and they need to come down harder on the blooming parents, Darlington seems to be breeding nothing but chavs these days :(
Good luck to Peter Stockdale because it is a shame for the decent parents who do instil some values into their kids! Vandalism when I was a kid was a bit of scribbling on something now they are not happy till it is totally wrecked!!
Are you walking about with your eyes closed harry? They have changed and its for the worse! When we were kids we were scared of the police now you see little kids some younger than 10 shouting vile things at them and just seem to not give a hoot they have no respect. They have no respect for people older than themselves either no matter who they are. If I did anything wrong as a child I was more scared of what would happen from my parents when I got home! Now I'm afraid there are to many late teens early 20 something kids having kids and letting them run riot till god knows what time its shocking I dread to think what it will be like in 20 years time! Things need to change and they need to come down harder on the blooming parents, Darlington seems to be breeding nothing but chavs these days :( Good luck to Peter Stockdale because it is a shame for the decent parents who do instil some values into their kids! Vandalism when I was a kid was a bit of scribbling on something now they are not happy till it is totally wrecked!! tabby67
  • Score: 4

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