'Deeply saddened' - Anger as arsonists destroy benches at popular parks
- Credit: Mick Howes
A town mayor and community group have hit out at the destruction of benches in popular parks.
The benches at two parks in Lowestoft were "deliberately" destroyed by fires that happened within the space of three days.
A picnic bench was set ablaze in an early morning fire at Fen Park in Kirkley on Tuesday, March 9 - just over 72 hours after charred remains had been left after a fire at the children's play area at Normanston Park in Lowestoft.
A crew from Lowestoft South Fire Station spent 20 minutes putting out the flames as the bench - used by families and close to the play area nearby - was ablaze at the south Lowestoft park at 5.20am on Tuesday.
Firefighters from Lowestoft South had previously spent 15 minutes tackling a blaze at 3.51am on Saturday, March 6, which destroyed a bench that families used to sit on at the children's play area at Normanston Park.
Police investigations are under way as the fires are believed to have been "started deliberately."
A police spokesman said: "Officers are making enquiries to determine whether these incidents are linked, and are asking anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area or anyone with information to contact police."
After the fires caused damage at the Lowestoft Town Council-run areas, town mayor, Alan Green, said: “The town council is disappointed that someone has deliberately sought to cause damage to much enjoyed facilities in our parks.
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"Not only is this a loss of public money and destruction of public property, it has harmful environmental impacts to these areas that are being used more than ever by our community.
"The town council will consider replacement benches at both sites and any further actions required.”
The Friends of Fen Park - a small group of Kirkley residents that regularly use the park and work alongside the town council to maintain and improve the south Lowestoft park for the community - urged people to come forward with any information.
The spokesman said: "Friends of Fen Park are deeply saddened by this act of arson."
With the damage at Normanston Park directed at the park bench within the play area, it "is now open for use again," according to the town council.
Information to Suffolk Police on 101, quoting crime references 37/11233/21 (Normanston Park) or 37/11591/21 (Fen Park).