RESIDENTS have hit back at "mindless" vandals after a popular footbridge was left with enough damage that a small child could have "fallen through."

The wooden railings of the footbridge in Newton Aycliffe were described as being torn from their fixtures and dumped into Woodham Burn below at the weekend.

The bridge links Kirkstone Place to amenities including a convenience store on the other side and is well-used by families, children and the elderly.

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One resident, who said young adults and children had been placed especially at risk of injury, said it followed a recent spate of anti-social behaviour.

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The resident, who asked not to be named, said he had been out walking with his dog when he was shocked to discover the damage.

He said: "I thought somebody had just thrown a bit of wood into the burn and then I realised it was the railing.

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"It's just mindless, nobody gets anything out of it and everybody loses out. I can't understand why anyone would do it."

"People complain about Newton Aycliffe but it’s got some lovely areas and this is one of them. There’s lovely green spaces here."

The resident, who asked not to be named, said the bridge had since been given an emergency repair, but feared it may not hold up unless repaired.

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Adding that he believed there should be more CCTV in the area, he said: "Kids could have fallen through it, it's a long way down and I wouldn't like to fall."

It comes as a shopping trolley was reportedly dumped in the nearby boating Lake at West Park, where it had to be recovered by the clean-up volunteers, the Wombles.

Durham County Council confirmed it had undertaken emergency repairs and that it would carry out a more permanent solution.

Paul Watson, strategic highways manager at the council, said: “We are aware of the vandalism caused to the footbridge and have undertaken an inspection.

"We have made temporary repairs to ensure the structure can be used safely while we arrange further work to provide a more permanent solution.

"These works will be carried out as soon as possible.”


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