VANDALS have been condemned for spraying graffiti in the play area in Wargrave.
A series of rude images and offensive words appeared on the BMX track in Recreation Ground, which is used by young children.
Parish councillor Marion Pope spent Saturday spraying over the graffiti so that it was gone in time for the half-term holiday this week.
She said the problem had become worse in recent months and blamed the influence of television and the internet on young people. She said: “The problem has got quite bad — it looks awful and it is disgusting.
“The track and the park are there for people to use, not abuse. It gets to the point where you feel like turning round and saying, ‘sorry, you cannot use it’. I don’t want that because it is there for a purpose and there are so many small children using it and enjoying it.”
A total of £2,000 was spent on maitenance of the track in the summer.
Cllr Pope used two cans of spray paint, which cost the parish council £36, to cover over the graffiti.
She said: “It is so sad and I cannot understand the mentality. I do not know who has done it — it is a certain type of person.
“I would like to catch them and find out why. What joy do they get out of it and would they do it at home? I cannot imagine it is the children from our village who use the track but then it is open to everyone.
“Some of the graffiti is very offensive. With children as young as 11 watching soft porn on television or on the computer, it is a changing world. There are no values now and I think that sometimes computers and mobile phones are a pain if used in the wrong way.”
Cllr Pope said the £30,000 play area, which was paid for with developer contributions from Wokingham Borough Council, was used by different people, including parents with young children.
“I think people will be put off from using it if the abusive signs and language continue,” she said.
The parish council is investigating ways to tackle the problem in the long term.
Cllr Pope said: “You cannot be there 24 hours a day and CCTV is so expensive. We are going to watch this space and see what happens.”
* What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG0 1AD or email email@example.com