Vandals responsible for a wave of destruction at a Blackpool landmark were today urged: ‘Respect your park’.
Police are stepping up their patrols around Stanley Park in a bid to curb vandalism and anti-social behaviour as the school holidays get fully underway.
After a “bad start to the year”, problems at the park have eased since officers focused their attentions on the Blackpool landmark.
The park has been blighted by vandalism, including a recent incident that saw trampolines deliberately slashed, but mounted patrols and a temporary police order barring youths from the park have helped ease the problems.
But now the summer holidays, which typically see a spike in anti-social behaviour at the park, have started, police and community groups have issued a plea for people to use it with respect.
Elaine Smith, of Friends of Stanley Park, said: “It’s your park and your children are going to want to use it one day.
If you wreck it now they won’t get to use it so take some pride in your park.Elaine Smith
“If you wreck it now they won’t get to use it so take some pride in your park.”
Although recent efforts to curb the problems at the park have been successful, the summer holidays often see an increase in reported offences
Mrs Smith added: “There has been some really bad vandalism in the past and it’s such a shame because so many nice children come and use it.
“It is just the other stupid ones who do it. It comes in patches – this year started off as a bad year but now it has calmed down again.”
The Gazette reported in April that yobs had damaged trampolines, swings and other equipment during a destructive spree.
It added to a catalogue of problems at the facility, which have in the past included vandalism to boats on the lake and the Charlie Cairoli statue.
Hagop Tchobanian, managing director of Blackpool Parks, praised the police’s efforts in recent weeks and said things are “moving in the right direction”.
He added: “The way it has happened, all this vandalism, it makes me feel like getting rid of the trampolines.
“They are iconic and have been there all this time so it’s a shame for me to think like that.
“There is vandalism day in day out. I hope all the kids will respect everything in the park - not just the trampolines.
“I just want them to come to the park and enjoy it.”
Mrs Smith added: “A bigger police presence has got to help, hasn’t it?
“They are coming in on a regular basis at the moment, on mounted patrol, and that must be helping.
“Perhaps what we needed was that police presence.
“Now things have quietened down for a while but we will wait and see what the holidays bring.”
Police have also been working with schools to help get the message across.