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Police renew witness appeal over destruction of Basingstoke play area
12:32pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
FIREBUGS are being hunted after play equipment was torched at a Basingstoke children’s park.
Police have renewed their appeal for witnesses after the play park in Heron Way, Kempshott was set alight in the early hours of Sunday, September 1.
The fire started on the upper deck of a pirate ship climbing frame. At one point, flames from the fire leapt 20ft in the air, before six firefighters in two appliances attended and put the blaze out in 15 minutes.
The fire destroyed the wooden panels on the pirate ship and scorched the steel frame.
Mike Browning, of Thrush Close, spotted the fire from his bathroom window, just before 6am, and he quickly called the fire service.
He said: “We back on to the play area and I just saw a flickering through the window of our bathroom.
“I went forward to have a closer look and saw that the fire had started on an overhanging little platform on the second storey. It was dripping paint and plastic on to the floor.”
The 63-year-old grandfather-of-four said police officers were called to disperse a group of youngsters who were trying to damage the play area earlier this summer, and graffiti has been sprayed on some of the equipment.
He added: “My grandchildren regularly play there and there are 20 or 30 schoolchildren who play there every day. They are going to lose it and that’s sad.”
Anyone with information on the fire is asked to contact PC Rich Harrison at Basingstoke Police Station on 101 or call the charity Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.
PC Harrison said: “This piece of equipment was totally destroyed leaving children disappointed and upset that someone could do such a thing to their playpark.
“Did you see anyone suspicious hanging around? Have you heard people talking about this incident and who might be responsible?”
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