Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Vandals target skate park just weeks after opening

VANDALS have targeted the skate park in Sonning Common less than six weeks after it opened.

VANDALS have targeted the skate park in Sonning Common less than six weeks after it opened.

Brooms and bins at the park at Bishopswood recreation ground, off Horsepond Road, were set on fire and the area was covered with rubbish including bottles and cans of alcohol.

The incident is believed to have happened during Thursday night last week between 11pm and 2am.

The £100,000 skate park was finished in May, eight years after the idea was first suggested. Carole Lewis, a parish councillor who led the skate park project, said she was “cross and sad” about the vandalism.

“I feel really sorry for the users,” she said. “They have been keeping it clean, brushing and really taking care of it. Children with different abilities are teaching each other, which is what we want the skate park to be about.

“Then these people, who should know better, come along and cause damage. The brooms and the rack for them were very kindly donated by our council chairman Douglas Kedge but these people have decided to burn them.

“They trashed the brushes and bins and left rubbish all over the place.

“I was speaking to a neighbour who was walking past on Friday morning and there was a young person cleaning up the mess because he wanted to use the skate park.”

John Stoves, vice-chairman of Sonning Common Parish Council, said: “From where I live I could hear them. I should have dragged myself out of bed to ring the police.

“I went up there on Friday and spoke to a young lad who was using the skate park and he was distraught — really, really upset. The actual skate park is all right because it’s made out of concrete.

“A lady from the village asked if I was involved with the skate park and I said I was part of the parish council.

“She showed me a £20 note she found there, probably left by one of the people there. That will be put towards having the brooms replaced and other items cleared up.”

The three brooms will cost about £30 each to replace plus the cost of replacing the stands for the bins. Another resident has donated a broom to use in the meantime.

Councillor Stoves added: “I would say to parents that if your son or daughter was out after 1am that night they should ask them where they went. Perhaps a few of them could send their children to the parish office to apologise and make a contribution to sorting it out.”

The vandalism happened on the same night as the prom for yeat 11 leavers at Chiltern Edge School in Sommon Common.

Headteacher Daniel Sadler said: “We had a very successful prom and all the children were off site by 10.30pm and we had no problems while they were at the prom.

“Most of our students live in Caversham so a large proportion were collected by parents at the end. The parents are responsible for children once the prom is over.

“We have had one report from the parish council and I would like more information.

“I would be disappointed if some have gone from the prom and caused damage but I have no information about what happened.

“If we can get some names or identify those involved we would support any investigation. At the moment it’s all hearsay.”

Police are investigating.

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