VANDALS who caused thousands of pounds of damage to a play park have been condemned by residents and local councillors.

Ten semi-mature trees worth around £2,000 were destroyed and an aluminium roof panel was dislodged from a band stand within the play area at Bishop Cuthbert in Hartlepool.

The damage occurred at around 9.30pm on Monday, a time when a gang of up to 40 or 50 youths was spotted in the area.

Rob Kendon, chairman of the Bishop Cuthbert Residents’ Association, said: “The council does a good job repairing damage, removing broken glass and clearing litter but its staff cannot be on site 24/7 to respond to the behaviour of a mindless few who seem determined to wreck the area.”

And Councillor Paul Beck, vice-chair of Hartlepool Council’s North and Coastal Neighbourhood Forum and a councillor for the Hart Ward, said: “We are receiving lots of complaints from many of the young families living in the area that their enjoyment of what is an excellent community facility is being spoiled by vandals. Such wanton damage can’t be allowed to go on and action must be taken to ensure it is stopped.”

Call Cleveland Police on 101.