Etchingham play area closed after vandals strike during night

One of the gates that were ripped from their hinges and placed between trees
One of the gates that were ripped from their hinges and placed between trees

A children’s play area in a village was left in a mess after vandals struck.

The Viper playground, near Etchingham train station, had to be closed for a day by the parish council, which maintains the facility.

Parish councillor Colin Boylett said the vandals struck overnight between Sunday (October 29) and Monday (October 30).

He said: “When we arrived there on Monday morning we found two gates, one of which is a full-size five-bar gate, had been removed and were lodged up in two of the trees on the site.

“It must have taken a bit of effort to get the gates up there as they were taken off their hinges.

“The picnic table was on top of one of the climbing blocks and the waste bins had been tipped over, one of those having been originally concreted in the ground and only recently installed.”

He added that rubbish inside the bins was strewn everywhere.

He also believes several people struck the playground overnight.

Cllr Boylett said: “Opposite the play area is a large plywood poster advertising the upcoming village fireworks event. This was smashed up as well.

“Nothing was seriously damaged in the play area but several of us had to spend hours sorting it all out.

“It also meant that the playground was out of use for the whole day on Monday so any children wanting to use it that day couldn’t.

“We still have to get the picnic table lodged back into the ground.”

The vandalism was reported to the police on Monday.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police were informed of vandalism at Etchingham play area which had happened between 4pm on October 29 and 8am on October 30.

“A bench, fence and bins had been damaged.

“Anyone who saw anything is asked to contact police online quoting serial 213 of 30/10.”